An indictment for involuntary manslaughter was handed down Monday against Lee Hutchins, who was the driver in a fatal crash on March 12, 2013, that killed Foothills Correctional Institute Officer Michael Piercy.
Piercy, who was 31 and the father of four young girls, according to WSOC, a Charlotte television station, was sitting in the front passenger seat and died on impact, according to the N.C. Highway Patrol.
Hutchins, the driver of the Chevrolet Blazer, was taken to Grace Hospital along with Amanda Piercy and the couple’s 4-year-old daughter. Hutchins’ wife, Barbara, was airlifted to Carolina’s Medical Center in Charlotte along with the 3-year-old child of the Piercys.
The head-on collision happened around 2:15 p.m. on March 12 when Hutchins began “swerving in an erratic manner,” according to witnesses, and crossed the center lane. The Blazer then collided head-on with the Piercys' Chrysler minivan. The collision happened on U.S. 64 near Duckworth Circle, about three miles south of Morganton.
“(The Blazer) started swerving and went left of center and hit the minivan and rotated the cars,” First Sgt. Doug Amos of the Highway Patrol said at the crash site, according to a story in The News Herald after the crash.
Hutchins had refused to answer questions about the crash, but spoke to WSOC on Monday, hours after the grand jury returned with its decision.
"My blood sugar dropped down to a 22," Hutchins said.
He said he blacked out and doesn't remember the crash.
"I'm sorry to the Piercy family that lost their dad and their husband. I'm truly sorry," said Hutchins.
Piercy's photograph is adjacent to the highway next to a cross marking the spot of the deadly crash. For months now, family members have been putting up these fliers across Burke County asking for justice for Piercy, WSOC reported.
On Monday night, they believe they are one step closer after what happened with the grand jury.
Christina Westbrooks showed WSOC two of the last pictures of her brother Piercy, who was running errands with his wife and two of his daughters when Hutchins' car crossed the center line and killed him.
Piercy's stepfather fought back tears as he explained how the accident impacted the family.
"(Hutchins) hurt a lot of people. He's hurt this family,” Bruce Harwood told WSOC. “(Piercy's) got four kids who will never see him again. It hurts.”
Hutchins doesn't believe he should be charged in the case and said if it ever goes to trial a jury will not find him guilty of a crime.
But state troopers said he was driving erratically prior to crossing the center line and causing the accident.
Piercy's sister said while the charge won't bring her brother back, it is news they welcome.
"It never will but this is what the justice system can do so this is what we have to accept," said Westbrooks.
Sheriff's deputies said it will be later this week that Hutchins is served the involuntary manslaughter indictment.
Family members said they will be there when he goes before a judge.
WSOC television contributed to this report.