NEW HANOVER COUNTY — A Liberty man will serve more than 11 years in prison after pleading guilty in a fatal rush hour crash that killed 38-year-old Shaun R.J. Murdock in May 2016.
Eduard Patrick, 27, pleaded guilty to a charge of second-degree murder before Superior Court Judge Imelda Pate in New Hanover County Superior Court on Wednesday, according to a notice from District Attorney Ben David.
Patrick was driving a Toyota Prius when his vehicle crashed into Murdock’s motorcycle at a College Road intersection. The crash followed a chase with law enforcement that had spread across two counties.
The incident began at about 7 a.m. on May 10, 2016, when a trooper with the North Carolina State Highway Patrol, saw a Toyota Prius traveling east on U.S. 74 near Maco in Brunswick County. Trooper’s radar signaled the vehicle was traveling at 79 mph, in an area with a posted speed limit of 55 mph, David said.
The trooper attempted to stop the vehicle using blue lights and siren, but the vehicle continued to move, reaching speeds of up to 85 mph, David said. At the connector of U.S. 74 and N.C. 133, the vehicle traveled onto the exit ramp, then back across all lanes of traffic, and between other vehicles to the far-left lane of U.S. 74, before entering a construction zone.
Patrick was able to make it over the Cape Fear Memorial Bridge, where two other trooper vehicles and a New Hanover County Sheriff’s Deputy joined in on the car chase. Their attempt to box the defendant in with their vehicles at Third and Dawson streets, was not successful.
Officers chased Patrick’s vehicle eastward on Dawson Street, where he reached speeds of 80 mph and ran a red light at the intersection of 16th Street and Oleander Drive, narrowly missing other motorists. He then passed six vehicles on Wrightsville Avenue, crossing a double-yellow line before making a right turn on to South Kerr Avenue.
“At that intersection, the trooper who had initially seen the defendant speeding near Maco attempted to stop the defendant by striking the defendant’s vehicle,” David said. “The defendant, however, started to weave back and forth and struck the front bumper of the trooper’s vehicle, causing the attempt to be unsuccessful as they approached the curve on Peachtree Avenue.”
Patrick drove between two vehicles stopped at the intersection of Peachtree Avenue and South College Road, sideswiping one of them, David said. Then Patrick continued into the intersection, where his vehicle collided with Murdock’s motorcycle, killing him on impact.
After the crash, Patrick continued to drive through the intersection and onto Pine Grove Drive, where a trooper was able to strike the defendant’s vehicle and apprehend him.
Patrick was arrested and faced several felony charges in court, including 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. He had no criminal record. No impairment nor contraband factored into the incident, David said.
Following the guilty plea Wednesday, Judge Pate sentenced Patrick 141 to 182 months in the North Carolina Department of Corrections.