04/22/07 — Princeton man faces charges in fatal accident

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Princeton man faces charges in fatal accident

By Lee Williams
Published in News on April 22, 2007 2:00 AM

A Princeton man faces charges for allegedly pinning a friend against the exterior of his apartment with his car, fatally injuring him in February.

James Holder, 29, of Barden Street, is scheduled to appear in Johnston County District Court at 2 p.m. May 10 to answer charges that his actions played a role in the death of Jamie Howell Jr., 27, of Talton Road.

Holder faces one count of misdemeanor death by motor vehicle in connection with the Feb. 18 incident, court officials said.

The incident that led to Howell's death began at about 9:30 a.m. when Howell squatted down outside of Holder's apartment. Holder pulled up in front of Howell and the two exchanged waves.

Holder had his foot on the gas and brake pedals at the same time "horsing around," Princeton police Chief Ed Lewis said. Holder's foot slipped off the brake and pinned Howell against the apartment, Lewis said.

Realizing what he had done, Holder put his 1994 Ford Taurus into reverse and backed away.

Rescue crews responded and took Howell to Johnston Memorial Hospital in Smithfield. He was later transported by air ambulance to Duke Hospital in Raleigh, where he died after about four hours .

Lewis said Holder was deeply distraught about the accident.

He called the incident an "accident," but added it was "preventable." That's why he decided to pursue charges.

Lewis said he is standing firmly behind reports that "horseplaying" played a factor in the case.

"That's what we are going with until someone who was present tells me different," he said.

Lewis said his decision on what led to the accident is based on an eyewitness account from Howell's stepmother and evidence found at the scene.

"I'm not going by what somebody said, somebody said," he said. Whatever happened "will play out in court."