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State Sen. Ted Kaplan, the Senate majority leader, will be charged with death by motor vehicle in an accident that killed a Yadkin County woman on Sept. 16, Forysth District Attorney Attorney Thomas Keith decided Tuesday.

Chuck Alexander, attorney for the 44-year-old Forsyth Democrat, said Keith notified him Tuesday morning of the misdemeanor charge, which carries a maximum penalty of up to two years in jail and/or a $500 fine.``I think Mr. Keith has given the situation careful consideration and has done what he feels is appropriate to do,' Alexander said. ``I don't think there was any political vendetta or anything of that nature at all.'

Keith, a Republican, was unavailable for comment Tuesday.

``That's up to the district attorney,' Kaplan said of the charge. ``As far as I'm concerned, he's a very qualified and responsible individual. If he feels that charges are what has to happen, then that's what has to happen.'

Neither Kaplan nor his attorney would comment on how Kaplan would plead in district court.

The accident occurred when Kaplan, who said he was having engine trouble with his pickup truck, veered off the road and slammed into the rear of a parked Buick, in which Dorothy Honeycutt had stopped to help her son, who was having car trouble.

Honeycutt, 54, a grandmother, was pronounced dead at the scene. Troopers said neither alcohol nor excessive speed contributed to the accident.

``All I know is it was a very tragic accident,' said Kaplan, a member of the legislature since 1977.

Alexander said Kaplan has wanted to ``sit down face-to-face to express his sympathy' to the victim's family, but Alexander advised against that given the pending charge. Friends have said that Kaplan has been devastated by the accident.

Tom Honeycutt, husband of the victim, declined to comment on the charge Tuesday.


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