On May 24th, 2021, just after 6 p.m., Stephanie Vincent was driving along the roadway when she veered off the road and claimed the life of two Franklin teens, Dakota Williamson, 17, and James Sweeten, 17.
Vincent was driving her Chevy Tahoe toward U.S. 23 when she crossed the center line and struck a motorcycle ridden by Williamson and Sweeten. Both Williamson and Sweeten were thrown off the bike onto the shoulder of the road. Vincent’s Tahoe came to a resting point upside down along the right shoulder of the road.
North Carolina Highway Patrol Trooper Hunter Gass arrived on scene and according to witnesses, one person was seen to have been thrown from the motorcycle. First responders located Williamson in nearby trees once they arrived on the scene. Williamson succumbed to the injuries he sustained in the accident. Vincent was transported to the hospital for treatment. The scene was cleared and the road was reopened for traffic.
It wasn’t until May 25, when a friend of Williamson returned to the accident site to look for the driver’s helmet when the second teen’s body was discovered in the woods.
Based on the results of Vincent’s bloodwork on the night of the accident, which was positive for methamphetamine, she pled guilty to two felony counts of involuntary manslaughter and two misdemeanor counts of death by vehicle in Macon County Superior Court last week. Vincent received three judgments which included, one underlying 75 day sentence followed. by two 16-29 month sentences for each victim. That sentence was suspended and Vincent was placed on 36 months of supervised probation. In the event that Vincent’s sentence is activated, she will have to serve the 16-29 months consecutively, for a total of 32-58 months in jail. Vincent was also ordered to pay restitution to the families for the victim’s funeral expenses and because of her negligence, she was ordered to spend the next three years in jail from December 24th to January 1st because that’s when most intoxicated drivers choose to drive
“This was a NCSHP investigation and truly it was a tragedy,” said Macon County Sheriff Robert Holland. “ As far as any sentencing, our current legislation for these types of cases doesn’t allow any family to feel as though they received justice for the loss of their loved ones. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family and friends of those who lost their lives that day.”