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Deadly crash suspect was released with no bond before incident

By WCTI Staff
Published On: Sep 28 2013 07:23:43 PM CDT
Updated On: Oct 02 2013 08:17:45 AM CDT
MARTIN COUNTY -

There are more answers in the case of a Martin County man who was charged with DWI and then, hours later, allegedly killed a man in an impaired-driving wreck.

The suspect, Gary James, was not required to post any bond after the initial DWI arrest, according to court documents.

Now, a clearer picture is emerging of the 12 hours leading up to the wreck that killed 48-year-old Thomas Bundy of Martin County.

James was driving a 1999 Buick LeSabre on Main Street in Robersonville at 6:15 p.m. Friday when he failed to use a turn signal, police said.

Investigators said that James had purchased the vehicle that same afternoon, even though he did not have a driver's license; his license had been revoked after his three prior DWI convictions.

The Robersonville Police officer suspected James of driving while impaired and arrested him.

The officer took James before a magistrate, S.C. Hardison Jr., at the Martin County Government Complex.

James' breath test showed a .11 blood-alcohol level; the legal limit is .08 in North Carolina.

Magistrate Hardison allowed James' father, Louis James, to sign for and assume responsibility for the suspect; no bond was required and the suspect was never booked into jail.

Hardison declined comment.

The next morning, just before 6 a.m., Gary ran a stop sign and killed Bundy, who was with his family en route to hunt, the investigating trooper said.

The crash occurred at the intersection of Vanderford and Grimes roads.

The father was not at his Briley Road home for comment; his phone's message box was full.

Asked whether the father will be charged in connection with the situation, Martin County District Attorney Seth Edwards said the matter is under investigation.

Edwards did say that a second-degree murder charge is possible for Gary, who is now in jail under a $250,000 bond.

Gary is, for now, charged with felony death by vehicle, DWI, and driving while license revoked.

Magistrates in North Carolina have discretion to allow the release or order the detention of DWI suspects.

There is no word on funeral arrangements for Bundy.

Previous Story:

The man allegedly responsible for a fatal, alcohol-involved crash is now in jail.

Gary James, 33, is in the Bertie-Martin Regional Jail on a $250,000 bond.

His charges include felony death by vehicle and DWI.

Robersonville Police charged James with DWI Friday night; just hours later, he was back on the roads and caused a deadly crash that killed a Martin County father, the investigating trooper said.

James has three prior DWI convictions, all in 2004, records show.

The victim, Thomas Bundy, had his wife, Peggy, and son, Jesse, in the vehicle with him.

Peggy's brother, Pete Brock, said Thomas loved the outdoors, and treated his family well.

“Just one of those types of guys that you can fuss at all day long and turn around and say, 'Hey can you help me do this?' He’d be right there,” Brock said.

A friend of Thomas Bundy, Roger Winstead, said he will miss hunting with him.

“He was just a friendly man, kind, nice as he could be, and he would do anything for you,” Winstead said.

Peggy and Jesse have been released from the hospital.  Peggy's brother said the family is making sure to take good care of them.

“We got a large family, it's just one of those things we wish wouldn’t have ever happened, but we will all get over it,”Brock said.

Previous Story: A man who was arrested for DWI Friday night got back on the road Saturday morning and caused a fatal, alcohol-related crash, according to investigators in Martin County.

Gary James, 33, was going 55 mph when he ran a stop sign on Vanderford Road at Grimes Road near Robersonville, according to Trooper Brian Allen.

James' Buick hit a truck that was in the intersection; the Ford pickup was driven by Thomas Bundy, according Allen.

Bundy died at the scene.

The victim's wife, Peggy, and 17-year-old son, Jesse, were in the truck him.

The crash happened just before 6 a.m. Saturday.

The Bundys were on the road for a hunting trip, Allen said.

The suspect, James, had been charged with DWI just hours before in Robersonville, town police confirmed.

That incident happened Friday evening; further details were not available.

Allen, the investigating trooper in the fatal accident, believes alcohol was involved in the crash that killed 48-year-old Bundy.

Charges are pending.