Bicyclist killed by drunk driver hours after his father died, family says

LENOIR, N.C. — Police in Lenoir say a drunk driver hit and killed a man on a bicycle early Sunday morning.

It was one of two crashes this weekend that left a father and son dead just hours apart. On Saturday, the father had a medical emergency before he wrecked his vehicle, investigators said.

Now, the family is planning two funerals.

Police said Nathan Daniel Smith, the son, was killed while riding a bike in the outside lane of Highway 321 near Ideal Drive. The driver, Christopher Murillo, was charged the same day with felony death by motor vehicle and driving while impaired.

The family is heartbroken over what happened but is also trying to find forgiveness for Murillo. Sierra Jackson said Nathan Smith learned Saturday evening his father had died, only to be struck and killed early the next morning.

“He didn’t know what he was doing when he hit that man on that bicycle, and I don’t know if he cared, but that man had a whole family that loved him,” Jackson said. “And he was looking forward to being here for his mama.”

Murillo appeared before a judge Monday morning in Lenoir. Channel 9′s Dave Faherty tried to ask him several questions afterward but he didn’t say a word.

According to court documents, Murillo “stated he consumed alcohol prior to being involved in the collision” and “performed negatively on field sobriety testing.”

Faherty spoke with Mark Price, who uses a bicycle to get around. He said he is very careful when riding on Highway 321. His church is located next to where Sunday’s happened.

“We were praying,” Price said. “I didn’t know anything until the preacher told us about it and the woman told me he was hit on that side of the road.”

Smith’s family told Faherty they plan on holding both funerals together at the church across the street from their home.

“I hope he finds a way to forgive himself because our family is loving and we will find a way to forgive him,” Sierra Jackson said.

Police told Faherty their investigation is not over at this point and they have more work to do on the case. Police got a search warrant for a blood sample from Murillo and are still waiting on the results.

Murillo is scheduled to be back in court early next year.

(WATCH BELOW: 4 Garinger High School students hurt in serious crash in east Charlotte)