Teen gets probation after hitting, killing Union Co. man

Teen gets probation after hitting, killing Union Co. man


by TONY BURBECK / NBC Charlotte

Bio | Email | Follow: @TonyWCNC


Posted on April 17, 2013 at 5:55 PM

Updated Thursday, Apr 18 at 5:36 AM

UNION COUNTY, N.C. -- A teen driver involved in a deadly hit and run pleaded guilty Wednesday to misdemeanor death by motor vehicle and failing to stop at the scene of a crash where a death occurred, but will spend no time in jail.

Under a plea deal, 18-year-old Tiffany Ashcraft receives two years supervised probation and 75 hours community service.

Also, as part of her plea agreement, Ashcraft has to pay restitution, wear an alcohol monitoring device and give five presentations to kids about the dangers of texting and driving for hitting and killing 22-year-old Josh Crowley.

Ashcraft could have faced 105 days in jail without the plea deal.

Crowley was walking home and on the shoulder of Potter Road in Union County April 8, 2012, when Ashcraft hit him. Investigators say Crowley was legally drunk at the time.

Ashcraft was driving 56 mph in a 45 mile an hour zone at the time of the accident, according to an accident reconstruction by Highway Patrol.

Crowley's family says he was wearing an orange shirt and Ashcraft should have seen him. Even if Ashcraft didn't see Crowley, his family says she still should have stopped to check and see what she hit instead of continuing to drive.

Crowley died from head trauma.

Ashcraft eventually pulled into a neighborhood to examine the SUV she was driving, then texted her dad saying she hit a deer.

"Stand up, say you’re sorry and take some blame," said Crowley's friend Michelle Morgan.

Ashcraft apologized to Crowley's family, but Crowley's mother wasn't impressed.

"Not much," Tammy Crowley said when asked about the apology.

"Not fair, not fair at all," she said about the plea deal.

Wednesday's court hearing was the first and only since the accident.

"The deal was all worked out before anybody got there; she didn't have to account for anything," Morgan said

One potential reason why it took more than a year to resolve involves Ashcraft's defense attorney Ken Honeycutt. He is Union County's former district attorney.  

The current district attorney apparently passed the case on to the Conference of District Attorneys in Raleigh to avoid any potential conflict of interest.

"You can't just run somebody over in the street, kill them dead and keep on going like it didn't happen," Morgan said.

Ashcraft's family did everything they could to keep her away from cameras. She entered and exited through a back door with her family and Honeycutt, even though there is supposed to be just one entrance and exit.

Deputies say Ashcraft using a separate entrance than the rest of the public was due to safety concerns. However, the only people waiting for her to leave on the back side of the courthouse were news organizations. Someone in Ashcraft's group took pictures of the media to let Ashcraft's family know where the cameras were as they tried to get her out of the building.

Crowley's family said they were not waiting for her and wouldn't say anything to her regardless.