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18-year-old driver charged after deadly I-40 wreck, ‘speeding over 100 mph’

<i>Buncombe County Detention Center/WLOS via CNN Newsource</i><br/>Arrest warrants show 18-year-old William Tyson Neumann
Lawrence, Nakia
Buncombe County Detention Center/WLOS via CNN Newsource
Arrest warrants show 18-year-old William Tyson Neumann

By Kari Barrows & Taylor Thompson

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    ASHEVILLE, North Carolina (WLOS) — An 18-year-old driver has been charged with misdemeanor death by vehicle and reckless driving after being involved in a deadly crash on Interstate 40, warrants show.

Troopers with the N.C. State Highway Patrol responded to a fatal crash that took place on the off-ramp of Exit 53B on I-40 in Buncombe County around 11:31 p.m. Saturday, April 6. Officials told News 13 a 2015 Volvo passenger car was traveling east on I-40 when the driver, identified as 18-year-old William Tyson Neumann, of Augusta, Georgia, attempted to take the Exit 53B off-ramp. The vehicle was traveling too fast to safely negotiate the off-ramp and lost control, ran off the left side of the roadway and struck a tree.

Two rear passengers were killed, identified as 19-year-old Robert Fox, of Wilmette, Illinois, who was a Christ School student, and 16-year-old Sophia Gordon, of Charlotte, N.C., a student at Myers Park High School in Charlotte.

There were six teenagers total in the car — three boys and three girls. Highway Patrol said 18-year-old Isabella Tarantelli and 17-year-old Abby Robinson were rushed to Mission Hospital Saturday with injuries.

According to arrest warrants, Neumann has been charged with two counts of misdemeanor death by motor vehicle and reckless driving to endanger. The warrants were issued on April 7 and Neumann turned himself in on April 8.

According to the warrants, “The defendant unlawfully and willfully did drive a vehicle on I-40 East, a highway, SPEEDING OVER 100MPH WITHOUT DUE CAUTION, this violation was the proximate cause of death” for both victims, Fox and Gordon.

Christ School took to their Facebook page on Tuesday to honor Fox, writing “Greenie Forever. We love you RJ!”

The school added that both students and faculty have gathered the past two days to grieve, heal and celebrate his life.

In a separate post, they asked for the community to continue to pray for the family of Myers Park High School student, Sophie Gordon, “who died in a tragic accident this weekend.”

They also asked the community to pray for Charlotte Catholic High School students Robinson and Tarantelli, who were injured and remain in the hospital.

“In this difficult time, we are holding all of those families who are suffering in our thoughts and prayers,” the post said

Christ School declined any further comment at this time.

Neumann was listed on Christ School’s website as a student who played on the school’s varsity football team.

He was booked into the Buncombe County Detention Center under a $25,000 bond. His next court date is set for April 23.

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