Hampstead man pleads guilty in Holly Ridge DWI death - Greenville, NC | News | Weather | Sports - WNCT.com

Hampstead man pleads guilty in Holly Ridge DWI death


A Pender County man will spend at least the next 14 years in prison for killing a woman with his car.

On Monday Jacob Beitz, 31, of Hampstead, pleaded guilty to murder, two counts of assault, and DWI.

"This was a very serious offense. It's one the family has suffered a devastating loss here," said Ernie Lee, Onslow County district attorney.

Prosecutors say Beitz was driving drunk, three times the legal alcohol limit and twice the speed limit, with a revoked license, when he rear-ended Tawanda Thompson's car in Holly Ridge on U.S. 17 south, seriously injuring two kids in the car, and killing her 19-year-old daughter Jacinta Fisher, a sophomore at Winston Salem State University.

"She was a very sweet person, very outgoing. It just hurt for something like this to happen to such a good person," said Ameka Dudley, Jacinta Fisher's aunt.

Police found an open container of alcohol in Beitz' car, and a drug test revealed he had Valium in his system. In court, his defense attorney said given the evidence, Beitz had no choice but to plead guilty.

With Beitz' mom and grandparents behind him, Beitz spoke directly to Jacinta's family in court.

"If I could somehow give my life up to change things, I would in a heartbeat. I'm so sorry," said Beitz.

"It really made me feel good that he was sincere from the heart. We all make mistakes," said Thompson.

As part of his sentence, the judge recommended Beitz receive a psychological evaluation and substance abuse counseling. If Beitz were to receive some type of work release or any released supervision, he would be required to pay $11,000 back for funeral expenses, said Lee.

At the end of the sentencing, the families of the victim and defendant hugged each other.

"We're both hurting. The family's hurting on his behalf, and I'm hurting on the loss of my daughter," said Thompson.

Jacinta's mother says the sentencing gives her closure, but it won't bring back the two lives lost: one to death, one to prison.

--- Previous Story ---

HOLLY RIDGE, N.C. - The driver involved in a fatal car crash over the weekend is facing a long list of charges including DWI.

And tonight, the family of the teenager who died in that crash is speaking out.

19-year-old Jacinta Fisher of Maysville died from her injuries after the crash on Saturday. She graduated from White Oak High School last year.

The wreck happened on Highway 17 south in Holly Ridge.

Police say Fisher and her family including some children were in the car when it was rear-ended on Highway 17 South in Holly Ridge.

Police charged the driver of the other car, Jacob Beitz, with several counts including DWI, involuntary manslaughter, five counts of assault with a deadly weapon, driving with a revoked license, and felony death by motor vehicle.

He has other troubles with driving and drinking too. A DWI. case is pending against him in Pender County as well.

Clementine Dudley can't believe her grand daughter is gone.

"Everybody knew, I loved her. She knew it. All of them," said Dudley.

19-year-old Jacinta Fisher died Sunday after the family's car was hit by Jacob Beitz Saturday afternoon while on their way to a shopping trip

"But what hurt me the most, she was trying to go to school. She was trying to do something. That's what hurt me. She had her goals, she had her goals. She was doin good grades, Dean's list. I told her 'baby you're just too smart," said Dudley.

Beitz made his first appearance in court today. He is charged with felony death by motor vehicle, voluntary manslaughter and driving with a revoked license. He also has another DWI charge pending in Pender County and, according to authorities, Beitz had an open container with him at the time of the accident.

"Number one, you shouldn't be driving drunk no way, because accidents can happen and you don't know who you can kill out there or who your gonna hurt up. And you see and most times when stuff like that happens, it hurts the innocent people and they don't even get a scar," said Dudley.

Jacinta was a sophomore at Winston-Salem State University. She wanted to be a dentist. A dream that will never be realized.

"My grand baby gone, on account of him," said Dudley.

--- Original Story ---

HOLLY RIDGE, N.C. - A teenager is dead following a weekend crash in Onslow County.

Nineteen-year-old Jacinta Fisher of Maysville died Sunday following injuries from a car crash on Saturday.  Two other children were also injured in the crash.

Police have charged 29-year-old Jacob Beitz of Hampstead with DWI, driving while license revoked, careless and reckless driving, driving with an open container of alcohol and five counts of assault with a deadly weapon. 

The wreck happened around 5:30 p.m. Saturday.  Police tell us Beitz was driving an estimated 80 mph when he crashed into the back of a Nissan Altima and into the back of an SUV.  After the crash, police say Beitz tried to drive away.  He was tased. 

Authorities say Fisher, two other children and two adults were in the Nissan Altima.  The adults did not have serious injuries.  The children were both taken to the hospital.  A 6-year-old girl was taken to Pitt County Memorial Hospital.  She's listed in fair condition.  A 7-year-old boy was taken to New Hanover Regional Medical Center and is expected to undergo surgery for a broken jaw.  The two people in the SUV were not injured. 

Beitz is being held in the Onslow County Jail under a $635,000 bond.  More charges may be filed based on an earlier DWI case in Pender County.      


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