Lawyer says driver was doing donuts before crash that killed UNCW student

Lawyer says driver was doing donuts before crash that killed UNCW student
Published: Mar. 16, 2023 at 12:31 PM EDT|Updated: Mar. 16, 2023 at 12:32 PM EDT
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WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - A driver charged with involuntary manslaughter and a DWI after a deadly crash on University of North Carolina Wilmington grounds on Oct. 1, 2022, appeared in court on Thursday, March 16. The judge allowed Nicholas Henry Pohlman to be released, but with certain conditions.

Pohlman has been charged with involuntary manslaughter, DWI and driving after consuming under the age of 21. According to the UNCW Police Department, the crash took place at around 12:15 a.m. at 632 College Road.

During the court appearance, Pohlman’s lawyers said he was doing donuts in the empty parking lot near Taco Bell when the Jeep overturned with three people inside. People in the drive-thru rushed to help the victims. UNCW sophomore Howard Lashon Coleman II died as a result of the crash at 20 years old.

Thursday would have marked Coleman’s 21st birthday, according to the state. Pohlman was 19 at the time of the crash and is not a UNCW student.

His lawyer argued that he should have a reduced bond because he isn’t a flight risk; he is also accused of violating pre-trial release after being released on a $50k bond last year. The judge also heard arguments from the state for not releasing Pohlman.

The judge decided to allow him to be released, but he must:

  • Follow a 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. curfew, and he can be away outside of those hours only if he is working at a business preapproved by the pre-release program.
  • Wear a scram device to measure alcohol levels and an ankle monitor
  • Undergo random, periodic drug testing
  • Live with his parents
  • Work in an establishment that doesn’t sell alcohol

The state plans to have witnesses testify on Pohlman’s reputation for reckless driving, and that they won’t ride with him because they “fear for their lives.” The state also claimed that law enforcement and witnesses heard Pohlman was worried about how much trouble he was going to be in as opposed to helping out.