Jury finds drunk driver guilty of murder in fatal crash

- Gregory Alan Wheeling, Jr. was sentenced today to at least 13 years in prison for
the death of 28-year-old Kelli Sue Putnam.

The trial began on November 6, 2017. Wheeling, 32, was tried for second-degree murder and the jury found him guilty as charged. Wheeling was sentenced to 156-200 months in prison.

In January 2016, Wheeling was with a group of friends at a Charlotte bar and restaurant. A woman who had not been drinking drove Wheeling’s car. Wheeling sat in the front passenger seat and became aggravated with how slow she was driving and used his hand to press down her
leg on the accelerator.

After stopping at a gas station, despite being intoxicated, Wheeling demanded his keys and then got behind the wheel with his friends in the car. Witnesses testified at trial that he began speeding and driving erratically, weaving in and out of traffic along South Boulevard in
Charlotte.

Meanwhile, Ms. Putnam was walking down South Boulevard after leaving a Carolina Panthers
football game. She attempted to cross South Boulevard, and when she did, Wheeling’s car
struck her, throwing her 191 feet. Ms. Putnam suffered severe trauma and was pronounced
deceased on the scene.

CMPD determined Wheeling was driving 51-63 mph in a 35 mph zone when he struck Ms. Putnam. A blood analysis found that Wheeling’s blood alcohol content was.13. Wheeling had previously been convicted of driving while impaired, and he remained under
a court order that prohibited him from driving with a blood alcohol content of .04 or more.

Ms. Putnam’s family expressed their gratitude for the outcome of the trial, which secured
justice for their loved one.

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