Charge upped for Marine in alleged DWI crash that killed bicyclist

POSTED: 12:23 PM Jun 20 2013   UPDATED: 11:39 AM Jul 04 2013
Wagner and Plaff

A Marine is facing a more serious charge for an alleged DWI wreck that killed a bicyclist in Craven County.

Michael Shane Wagner, 29, a staff sergeant at MCAS Cherry Point, turned himself in to New Bern Police Wednesday afternoon, investigators said. He has been charged with felony death by vehicle, in addition to his previous charge of DWI. Wagner was released from jail on a $10,000 bond.

Wagner was driving on Old Airport Road, near Taberna, when he allegedly hit 60-year-old Heather Pfaff, of Daughety Court in New Bern. Pfaff was riding her bicycle when the crash happened at about 8 p.m. on June 19, police said.

The victim was taken to CarolinaEast Medical Center, where she was pronounced dead, investigators added.

Witnesses told NewsChannel 12 the crash happened when Pfaff was taking a left turn onto Daughety Court, just houses away from where she lived.

Neighbors paid their respects by hanging flowers where the crash happened.

"[She's a] very sweet lady, very nice. Every time I saw her outside, she would wave and say 'hi,'" said Eric Thompson, who lives across the street from Pfaff's home. "Most times, she was walking her dog or with her grandchildren. She recently purchased the bicycle and has been riding up and down Old Airport Road like most folks do."

Thompson said Pfaff usually rode her bike to visit family in Taberna. Thomspon believed that was where the victim was coming from when she was hit and killed.

John Hardee, who lived on Old Airport Road his whole life, said it has become a very dangerous road over the years, with no sidewalks for pedestrians.

"There’s no shoulder, nothing for anybody to ride on. It's a very bad area," Hardee said. "It’s a 45 zone, but very rarely do I see people following that."

Wagner's next court appearance is scheduled for July 9 in Craven County.