Homicide

4 killed in apparent drag racing wreck in North Carolina; man charged with 2nd-degree murder

Skid marks are seen on Monday July 13, 2015 near a stand of trees where witnesses say a car ran off the road and killed several bystanders during what authorities say was an illegal drag race in Middlesex, N.C. (AP Photo/Jonathan Drew)

Skid marks are seen on Monday July 13, 2015 near a stand of trees where witnesses say a car ran off the road and killed several bystanders during what authorities say was an illegal drag race in Middlesex, N.C. (AP Photo/Jonathan Drew)  (The Associated Press)

A North Carolina man has been charged with second-degree murder in an apparent drag race that killed four people and injured several others.

The North Carolina Highway Patrol said investigators believe two cars were in a pre-arranged race when one driver lost control and struck a group of people watching nearby about 10:30 p.m. Sunday. In addition to the people killed, at least three were injured.

Court records show that Jimmy Pearce II of Zebulon is charged with three counts of second-degree murder and two counts of assault with a deadly weapon. He made his first court appearance Monday.

The Highway Patrol says in a news release that Pearce hit the victims with his 1989 Ford Mustang in the crash in Johnston County, about 30 miles east of Raleigh.