Man pleads in teen deaths

An October 2014 crash claimed the lives of two Bunker Hill High School students. A Claremont man pleaded guilty Monday in the case.

A Claremont man was sentenced to three months in jail and probation after he pleaded guilty to charges related to a wreck that killed two teenagers in 2014.

Jacob Dalton Turner, 20, pleaded guilty Monday to two counts of felony involuntary manslaughter and two counts of misdemeanor assault with a deadly weapon.

Prosecutors say Turner caused the October 2014 traffic deaths of Alec Calvin Sigmon and Justin Michael Turner, a pair of 15-year-old Bunker Hill High School sophomores, who were ejected from the vehicle Turner was driving. The two teens were killed as a result of a high-speed, single-vehicle crash, according to information from District Attorney David Learner’s Office.

Superior Court Judge Mark E. Klass, from Davidson County, gave Jacob Turner a suspended sentence of nearly 2.5 years to 4.5 years and required he serve three years of supervised probation. He also must spend three months in jail, served at the discretion of his probation officer, and he cannot drive for a period of two years, according to information from the District Attorney’s Office.

Klass also ordered that Turner speak to high school students about the consequences of speeding and reckless driving.

During the court proceedings on Monday, Jacob Turner briefly addressed the families of Alec Sigmon and Justin Turner, saying, “I am very sorry for the things I have put you through. I’ve had a hard time dealing with the consequences.”

Jacob Turner’s attorney, Scott Reilly, said, “This is a sad day for everybody involved. (Turner)’s going to live with this; he’s responsible … . He was in the wrong, he made a mistake. We hope (the plea) can provide closure to the families.”

The North Carolina State Highway Patrol investigation showed that Jacob Turner was driving a 2002 Mercedes Benz C-240 at a speed in excess of 90 mph when the vehicle went off the side of Riverbend Road, struck a ditch and went airborne, according to a release from the DA’s Office. After the vehicle landed, it continued to travel out of control down a bank, striking several trees and ejecting Sigmon and Justin Turner from the rear passenger area of the vehicle, according to the release. The two teens died at the scene as a result of their injuries.

Jessica Joy Sigmon, 17, and Chloe Allison Cordell also were injured in the crash. Cordell’s injuries required her to be taken to Wake Forest Baptist Regional Medical Center for extensive care, the release said.

In court Monday, Assistant District Attorney Lance Sigmon noted repeated warnings the defendant had been given regarding his erratic driving behavior and the impact the crash had on the families involved as he asked for the defendant to take responsibility for his actions, according to DA’s release.

“We can send a message to this defendant that his behavior is unacceptable and has far-reaching consequences,” Prosecutor Lance Sigmon said. “We’ve heard about the defendant’s bright future, but Justin and Alec have no future. We want him to be a productive citizen of this community, but we also want him to be a responsible one.”

Family members of both Alec Sigmon and Justin Turner addressed the court about the impact the defendant’s actions has had on their lives. Assistant District Attorney Melanie Earles also read statements from Jessica Sigmon and Cordell regarding the fatal crash and how it has affected them with the loss of a brother and a friend, according to the DA’s release.

Troopers J.D. Connor, K.W. Stewart and D.E. Souther led the investigation for the North Carolina State Highway Patrol. Lance Sigmon and Melanie Earles prosecuted the case for the District Attorney’s Office.

 

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