Man to face trial Nov. 1 on death by vehicle charge


Leon Walston Jr.


By William F. West
Staff Writer

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

A Pasquotank County man will face trial in November on charges he caused the wreck that led to the deaths of two Camden County residents in February.

District Judge Eula Reid ordered Leon Walston Jr., 24, of the 600 block of Millbrooke Circle, stand trial Nov. 1 in Pasquotank County District Court on a charge of misdemeanor death by vehicle. 

Authorities allege Walston is responsible for the deaths of Ramona Finney, 53, and her passenger, Michael Tazwell, 51, on Halstead Boulevard Extended on Feb. 25. The wreck occurred at 2:28 a.m. at Halstead’s intersection with Ridgefield Drive.

According to an Elizabeth City Police Department report, Walston was driving east on Halstead Extended when his 2016 Chevrolet pickup struck the passenger side of Finney's 2008 Dodge as Finney was crossing Halstead south from Ridgefield. Both Finney and Tazwell died at the scene, officials said.

Walston was driving 65 mph in a 50 mph zone and his truck went 114 feet after impact, the report states. Finney's car traveled 212 feet after impact. Both vehicles ended up off the pavement, with Walston's pickup striking a wooden highway sign post before coming to rest, the report states.

According to court documents, Walston submitted to two field sobriety tests following the wreck. The first test showed “significant indicators of impairment,” while the second showed a “positive presence” of alcohol. Walston also “admitted to drinking and taking a prescription medication,” according to a statement by police officer Luke Marcum included as part of the court file.

Walston was freed after posting a secured bond.

Records show Walston has retained defense attorney Keith Teague of Elizabeth City to represent him. Teague couldn't be reached for comment.

District Attorney Andrew Womble said in an email that he cannot comment on the matter beyond confirming that Walston’s trial has been set for Nov. 1.

During a trial in District Court, the judge presides without a jury.