New Year begins tragically

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, January 7, 2004

AHOSKIE – An official with the North Carolina State Highway Patrol office in Ahoskie is hoping that a deadly start on local roadways to open a new year isn’t a sign of things to come.

With 2004 less than 56 hours old, two local men lost their lives during separate accidents in Bertie and Hertford counties.

The year’s first fatality occurred at 4 a.m. on Saturday (Jan. 3) on RP 1106 (St. Francis Rd.), 8.5 miles southwest of Windsor. There, a Toyota passenger car operated by Isaiah Spivey Jr., 59, of Windsor, reportedly ran off the right side of the road, after the driver had lost control of the vehicle, overturned and struck a tree.

Although the accident remains under investigation, NCHP Trooper N.L. Harrison stated in his report that exceeding posted speed and alcohol use were the determining factors in the fatal crash.

Less than four hours later, Dillard Lassiter, 55, of Ahoskie, lost his life following an accident on US 13, approximately 1.4 miles south of Ahoskie.

According to a report filed by NCHP Trooper A.C. Cayton, Lassiter was operating a 1995 Mazda south on US 13 when the vehicle left the right side of the roadway, struck a mailbox, made impact with a culvert of a private driveway, spun around and came to rest facing the opposite direction.

Trooper Cayton’s report revealed that speed was a factor in the crash. The posted speed limit along that stretch of US 13 is 50 mph. The report also indicated that Lassiter was not wearing a seat belt.

&uot;When you mix vehicular speed with alcohol and fail to buckle-up and are involved in a motor vehicle accident, then you’re going to get hurt, or in these two particular cases, lose your life,&uot; said NCHP Sgt. B.A. Jones of the Ahoskie office. &uot;Please slow down, obey the rules of the road and don’t drink and drive.&uot;