Wesley Worden, a Mooresville art-gallery owner loved boating, swimming and jet-skiing on Lake Norman, a next-door neighbor said Saturday. He was killed Thursday by a driver authorities say was highly intoxicated.
Worden died after Tim Kohuth, a former NASCAR pit crew chief, lost control of the tow truck he was driving and hit Worden's SUV on Brawley School Road. Kohuth has been charged with second-degree murder; a prosecutor says his alcohol level was 0.43 percent, more than five times the legal limit of 0.8 percent.
Worden's wife, Gail, remains in serious condition at Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem, recovering from the wreck.
"They were always together. I worry about her," said neighbor Mary Jean Easom.
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The Wordens were among the first residents of The Harbor neighborhood on Lake Norman, Easom said. They ran Oils Unlimited, a gallery at Brawley Commons shopping center.
Worden was in his early 70s. He kept an immaculate yard and spent much of his time on the water, Easom said. "They were just so much fun, and so much fun together," she said. "They were just a great couple and great neighbors."
Easom said the Wordens also have a yellow convertible and a Hummer. "I wish they would have taken the Hummer that day."
State troopers continued to investigate the wreck Saturday. Kohuth, who remains jailed on $1 million bond, was convicted of impaired driving twice in 2006 and has also been convicting of boating while impaired.
Trooper David Reid said he expects to present the case against Kohuth to a grand jury in about a week and a half. He said people who live in the Lake Norman area have told troopers about other encounters with Kohuth's tow truck driving erratically and running them off the road. Moments before Kohuth hit the Worden's vehicle, he reportedly crossed the center line and forced a sheriff's deputy off the road. The deputy had turned around and was following the truck when the fatal wreck happened.
"My goal is to keep him off the road," Reid said. "This man has no business operating a vehicle in the state of North Carolina, or anywhere for that matter."