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Driver in fatal DWI crash makes first court appearance

Matthew Schmieder, 36, is charged with second-degree murder in the death of Derek Miller. Schmieder was reportedly driving with a revoked license, but tests show alcohol, marijuana and tranquilizers played a role in the fatal accident on Kanuga Road. (Photo credit: WLOS Staff)

A Hendersonville man is indicted, following a crash that claimed the life of a local teenager.

Matthew Schmieder, 36, is charged with second-degree murder in the death of Derek Miller.

RELATED LINK| NCHP: East Henderson High Senior killed in crash; driver responsible hospitalized

Schmieder rolled into the courtroom in a wheelchair Thursday, due to his injuries from the wreck. The public defender by Schmieder's side in court stated Schmieder has lived in the area since 1995 and runs an accounting firm.

District Attorney Greg Newman said not only was Schmieder driving with a revoked license, but tests show alcohol, marijuana and tranquilizers played a role in the fatal December 2016 accident on Kanuga Road.

Newman says that will be a big point of discussion when the case goes to trial, "A combination of any of those things can impair you, and then you consider the fact that at that time his license was suspended, you consider the manner in which he was driving when he caused this accident, this death."

District Attorney Newman also says Schmieder’s driving record includes multiple speeding tickets from a number of counties and also South Carolina, over the past few years.

RELATED LINK| Man to face second-degree murder charge in wreck that killed EHHS student

Schmieder is now set to appear in Superior Court on June 26th and is currently in jail under a $200,000 secured bond.

Schmieder could serve between 10 and 39 years in prison, if convicted. The judge also determined in court Thursday, that he cannot drive a vehicle while the case is under investigation and can also be randomly tested for drugs and alcohol.

A local representative with Mothers Against Drunk Driving was also in court to support the Miller family.

Ellen Pitt, Mothers Against Drunk Driving WNC, "they've lost their 17-year-old child and he was doing everything right that evening. He has his seat belt on. He was doing the right thing and was innocent in this."

Derek Miller would have graduated from East Henderson High School on June 9th.

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