Charges upgraded against Elizabethtown man after deadly wreck

By Sarah Willets -

LUMBERTON — An Elizabethtown man charged in a fatal wreck in Lumberton last year is now facing second-degree murder charges after a “critical piece of evidence” surfaced last week, according to an investigator.

William Roeder, 43, was initially charged with misdemeanor death by vehicle in a head-on wreck that killed Annette Johnson and Angela Deneen Hill on Jan. 9, 2015.

“The subsequent investigation was lengthy and also delayed because we were trying to obtain one critical piece of evidence which was located on June 6, 2016. This evidence allowed us to upgrade charges against Mr. Roeder,” said Erich Hackney, investigator for the Robeson County Sheriff’s Office, who took over the case after initial charges were filed by the state Highway Patrol. Hackney declined to elaborate on the nature of the evidence.

The fatal collision occurred on Tar Heel Road when Roeder’s northbound pickup truck collided head-on with a Toyota passenger car operated by Johnson, 47, of Marion, South Carolina. According to Hackney, Johnson and two passengers in her vehicle — 49-year-old Hill and 27-year-old Shanada Lareshia Lardge — had just left work at Smithfield Packaging in Tar Heel when the accident happened. Hill and Lardge were both from Lumberton.

“Roeder, who was grossly impaired, traveled left of the center line and struck the Toyota head-on, instantly killing both Johnson and Hill,” Hackney said. Roeder and Lardge were airlifted for medical treatment.

According to an accident report, Roeder had been driving about 70 mph in the 55-mph zone.

Roeder was initially charged with two counts of misdemeanor death by vehicle, driving while impaired and driving left of center. Those charges were upgraded to two counts of second-degree murder, two counts of felony death by vehicle, assault with a deadly weapon inflicting serious injury, felony serious injury by a vehicle and reckless driving.

Roeder was placed in the Robeson County Detention Center under a $500,500 bond.

Roeder was convicted in 2007 in Onslow County for possessing and manufacturing Schedule II controlled substances, Department of Public Safety records show.

Sarah Willets can be reached at 910-816-1974 or on Twitter @Sarah_Willets.

By Sarah Willets

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