Joseph Scott Roland charged with murder 18 months after Ralph Michael Prestwood died

Lenoir police say delay tied to reviewing 4,000 pages of medical records
Jan. 31, 2013 @ 06:50 PM

Nearly three years after the wreck that put a man in the hospital for the last two months of his life, a Lenoir man has been charged with murder.

A Lenoir man is now charged with murder after a May 25, 2011, crash that left man critically injured until his death two months later.

Joseph Scott Roland, 29, of Union Baptist Road was indicted Wednesday on charges of felony murder, felony aggravated death by vehicle, and driving while impaired. Roland was taken before a magistrate and then released pending a scheduled March 4 appearance in Caldwell  Superior Court.

Lenoir police say that shortly after 7 p.m. on May 25, 2011, Roland was driving a 1999 Ford Explorer north on Norwood Street with Marcie Lee Triplett, then 31, and crossed the center line, striking a 1996 Ford van head-on. The driver of the van, Ralph Michael Prestwood, 58, of 207 Countryside Drive, and a passenger, Richard Adam Shores, were taken to Caldwell Memorial Hospital. Prestwood was severely injured and was later flown to Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte. Prestwood died July 18.

Lenoir Police Capt. Larry Clark said part of the reason it took a year and a half to bring a murder charge for the grand jury's consideration involved a review of more than 4,000 pages of medical records, which then were turned over to the district attorney’s office for review.

Roland originally was charged after the accident with driving while impaired, aggravated serious injury by vehicle, felonious hit and run, reckless driving, improper equipment and driving left of center. Triplett was charged with aiding and abetting DWI, aiding and abetting felony hit and run and no insurance.