Friday mishaps claim pair

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, June 1, 2004

Memorial Day weekend got off to a deadly start here in the Roanoke-Chowan area.

Two men lost their lives on Friday in separate accidents in Bertie County. That pair of fatalities brings the highway death toll to 14 in the R-C area since Jan. 1. Eight of those deaths have occurred in Bertie County.

At 4 p.m. on Friday, the North Carolina Highway Patrol responded to a one-car accident on NC 42, approximately three miles west of Colerain.

There, according to a report filed by NCHP Trooper T.R. Briggs, a 1996 Pontiac passenger car driven by Jerome Gaskins, 20, of Colerain was traveling west on NC 42. The vehicle ran off onto the left shoulder of the road, skidded across the highway and overturned in a field. Neither Gaskins nor his juvenile passenger, a 13-year-old female, were wearing seat belts. Both were ejected from the vehicle and Gaskins was found dead, lying less than 30 feet from the car.

The Colerain Rescue Squad transported the juvenile to Roanoke-Chowan Hospital. She was later taken to Pitt Memorial Hospital in Greenville from where she was treated and released.

Speed in excess of the posted limit and the lack of seat belt usage were attributed to the death.

Nearly seven hours later, another Bertie County roadway claimed a life.

At approximately 10:45 p.m. on Friday, Alonso Smallwood, 31, of Rocky Mount was killed during a two-vehicle crash on SR 1108 (Indian Woods Road). That accident occurred 10.1 miles west of Windsor.

In his report, NCHP Trooper Mike Gerard wrote that Smallwood, operating a 1995 Chevrolet passenger vehicle, was traveling east on SR 1108 and was attempting to make a left-hand turn. At the same time, a 1991 Ford van, operated by William Smallwood Jr., 41, of Windsor, was apparently in the process of passing A. Smallwood’s vehicle. A. Smallwood died as result of the injuries he suffered in the mishap.

W. Smallwood was transported to Pitt Memorial Hospital. His condition is unknown.

Three passengers in A. Smallwood’s vehicle – Garfield Green, Victor Edwards and Otis Murphy, all of Windsor – also required medical attention. The extent of their injuries is not known.

Charges are pending as the investigation continues into the accident.