Thursday, July 18, 2024

Warrants state teen charged in fatal Shallotte wreck drove victim’s family car

Devin Keither Harris

A Calabash teen charged with the death of a 13-year-old boy in a wreck that ended in Mulberry Creek last month was allegedly driving the victim’s family car, according to arrest warrants.

Devin Keither Harris, 18, was originally charged with misdemeanor death by motor vehicle, but faced additional charges on Monday, including reckless driving, no operator’s license, speeding and unauthorized use of a motor vehicle, according to court records.

Harris was charged with misdemeanor death by vehicle in connection with the wreck that killed 13-year-old Caleb Smith on Bridgers Road in Shallotte at about 4 a.m. Wednesday, Feb. 10. Law enforcement and emergency responders reportedly found the vehicle submerged in about seven feet of water in Mulberry Creek and worked to pull three teens from the car.

Smith was pronounced dead at the scene. Devin Harris and his brother – 16-year-old Justice Harris, a student at West Brunswick High School – were taken to the hospital for treatment. Law enforcement officials say that while the two brothers suffered substantial injuries in the wreck, they were both expected to make a full recovery.

Justice Harris and Devin Harris are the sons of former Shallotte police detective Tammy Mantreforte, who worked at the Shallotte Police Department from Oct. 25, 2010 to Jan. 1, 2016, according to Town of Shallotte Spokeswoman Rachel Johnson.

Smith was the son of a pastor at Waterbrook Community Church in Long, South Carolina, according a February post on the church’s Facebook page.

In a statement issued by Shallotte Police Chief Rodney Gause the morning of the wreck, the police chief said it did not appear that the vehicle ran off the road and there were no marks from the car on the roadway. Initial investigations showed that the vehicle was traveling toward N.C. 130 on Bridgers Road at the time of the incident. The vehicle reportedly hit the left side of Mulberry Bridge on the passenger side of the vehicle before it left the roadway and submerged in the water.

According to arrest warrants, Devin Harris is charged with driving without a license and driving 61 mph on Bridgers Road, which has a speed limit of 35 mph. Warrants also state he is charged with the unauthorized use of a 2007 Honda Accord, a vehicle belonging to the parents of the deceased victim.

Devin Harris was booked at the Brunswick County Jail on Monday and released at about 8:30 p.m. under a $2,000 bond, according to jail records.

The investigation into the wreck is ongoing, according to Assistant District Attorney Jamie Turnage, the prosecutor in the case. Devin Harris is scheduled to appear in Brunswick County District Court on March 7.

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