Drunk driver kills two cyclists

This past Sunday a tragic accident took the lives of David and Trey Doolittle of New Hanover, North Carolina. They were stuck by a drunk driver during their morning bike ride. David Doolittle was killed instantly and his Trey son died a day later, 10 days before his 18th birthday.

WECT Wilmington reports that the driver, Thomas Grooms, was arrested at the scene and has been charged with felony death by motor vehicle and felony driving while impaired amongst others. The 63-year old driver crossed into the marked bike lane and struck the Doolittles. At the time of the accident neither David or Trey were wearing helmets.

WWAY reported that Rob Miller saw the accident.

“I went around these guys. There was no reason to slow down. There was no oncoming traffic. I just went around them, and the other guy didn’t. He went through them,” Miller said.

According to Miller, after the collision Grooms continued driving but was stopped only when Miller blocked the road with his car.

The accident occurred on River Road which has a posted speed limit of 55 miles per hour. Star News Online is reporting that the tragic deaths have spurred local reaction to the situation on River Road. Some solutions to the traffic problem include reducing the speed limit, widening the road from two to four lanes and installing rumble strips by the bike lane to alert drivers. The Department of Transportation has begun an investigation into the accident and are expected to publish the results in 30 to 60 days.

This Sunday a memorial ride will be held for the Doolittles in Wilmington. The “Do Something for the Doolittles” ride starts at the Murray Middle school in Wilmington with the purpose of raising awareness for safety and drunk driving. The rider starts at 11:00 AM and donations are welcome with 100% going to the Doolittle family.

The New Hanover County Sheriffs Dept will be supporting this event with police escorts.

In lieu of flowers the family requests that donations be made to the Tyler and Turner Doolittle Educational Fund – 15029 Superior Street, Charlotte NC, 28273.


  1. JeffS says:

    If someone wanted to deter drivers from killing cyclists they would do so with jail sentences.

    Instead, we’ll get a bunch of hand wringing and a slap on the wrist.

  2. midtoad says:

    Note the attempt to inculpate the cyclists by mentioning they weren’t wearing helmets. As though a helmet is going to do anything to save anyone, whether cyclist or pedestrian, who is struck by a motor vehicle doing 55 mph or faster!

    More to the point would be to ask whether the cyclists were equipped with rear-view mirrors (e.g. the Made-in-USA Take-A-Look glasses-mounted mirror). Struck-from-behind accidents are the leading cause of cyclist fatalities on rural roads. Your ONLY defence is to carefully observe all overtaking traffic, and be ready to hit the ditch if needed. Doing a shoulder check is useless when cars are approaching at highway speeds.

  3. John Boling says:

    This is a sad day. I went to practical nursing school with David in Charleston SC in 1992-93. Not only were we in school together for a year but we were in the National Gaurd also. I stumbled across this article by accident and my heart grieves for David, his son and the surviving family members. I remember many nights that our study group which included David were together cramming for upcomming exams. I havent seen or spoken to David since leaving the National Guard in 1995 but the world has lost a brilliant decent human being and a Husband and Father. My thoughts and prayers go the his surviving families. May God be with them to support them through this tragedy and to bless them the days ahead. John Boling

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