Judge raises bond for man charged in fatal rush hour chase, crash

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Eduard Patrick (right) on camera with a deputy for his first appearance in district court. Photo by Christina Haley.
Eduard Patrick (right) on camera with a deputy for his first appearance in district court. Photo by Christina Haley.

A Lincoln man facing several charges after a vehicle pursuit with law enforcement that led to a fatal wreck Tuesday morning in Wilmington made his first appearance Wednesday afternoon in New Hanover County District Court.

Eduard Patrick, 26, made a video appearance before Judge Russell Davis on charges of misdemeanor death by vehicle, felony hit and run involving serious injury or death, felony elude arrest with a motor vehicle causing death, and reckless driving to endanger.

Patrick was charged in a wreck that killed 38-year-old motorcyclist Shaun R.J. Murdock at the intersection of Kerr Avenue and South College Road at about 7:19 a.m. Tuesday, according to Sgt. Michael Baker with the N.C. State Highway Patrol. At the time of the wreck, Patrick was being chased by law enforcement and did not stop for a red light at the intersection, Baker said.

The vehicle pursuit began just after 7 a.m. Tuesday, when a trooper attempted to stop Patrick for speeding as he drove a 2013 Toyota Prius headed east on U.S. 74 in Brunswick County. Baker said the trooper believed Patrick was driving at 79 mph in the 55 mph zone.

In court Wednesday, Assistant District Attorney Doug Carriker said the pursuit started near Maco in Brunswick County. Patrick reached Wilmington via the Cape Fear Memorial Bridge, where he was met by two other troopers and a New Hanover County Sheriff’s deputy.

Law enforcement was not successful in blocking Patrick just over the bridge at the intersection of 3rd and Dawson streets. Patrick continued on Dawson Street and ran a red light the road’s intersection with 16th Street, “narrowly” missing a wreck with southbound traffic, Carriker said. The officers were slowed at that intersection, but caught up with Patrick on Wrightsville Avenue and then turned left onto Kerr Avenue.

When Patrick ran a red light at the intersection Kerr Avenue and South College Road, he was struck by Murdock’s motorcycle headed southbound on College Road, Carriker said, adding that Murdock was “killed on impact.”

During the pursuit, law enforcement performed two PIT maneuvers (precision immobilization technique) – a pursuit tactic used by law enforcement to force a fleeing car to abruptly turn sideways, causing the driver lose control and stop – on Patrick, Carrier said. The second PIT maneuver was successful, which occurred in the area of MacMillan Avenue and Pine Grove Drive shortly after the fatal wreck. Patrick was stopped and taken into custody.

Patrick reached a speed of 90 mph as he was being chased by law enforcement both in Brunswick County and Wilmington, Carriker said.

Eduard Patrick
Eduard Patrick

The prosecutor asked the judge to raise Patrick’s bond to $500,000 secured. In his argument to the judge to raise the bond, Carriker said Patrick was “aware of what had occurred” when he spoke with a relative on the jail’s phone system, which is monitored by law enforcement, about the vehicle chase and fatal wreck.

In arguing Patrick’s potential risk for flight, Carriker said  the defendant is not a U.S. citizen and has a visa that expires in June. Patrick has no previous convictions.

Assistant Public Defender Jason Minnicozzi appeared in court Wednesday for the case, though Patrick has not yet been appointed an attorney. He argued for Patrick’s bond to be lowered to $100,000 secured.

Minniccozzi argued Patrick has been compliant with law enforcement and has submitted to a blood draw and a drug recognition evaluation. At that time those tests did not detect impairment. He argued further that Patrick is in the country lawfully and is not out of status with his visa at this time, adding that Patrick is also married. Minnicozzi said he also believes Patrick has an ongoing mental health issue.

“I think the allegations that arose yesterday do indicate a danger to the public and, in and of itself, do indicate a rather high flight risk,” Judge Davis said.

The judge ordered Patrick’s bond to be raised from $250,000 to $500,000 secured. Patrick is scheduled for another district court appearance on May 26. The prosecutor said more charges may be forthcoming in the case.