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Infant killed in Gates County crash

GATES – An eight-month old infant was killed Monday during a one-vehicle accident on US 13 in Gates County.

The motor vehicle death was the fifth of the year in the Roanoke-Chowan area and the second involving an individual under the age of 14 in less than 24 hours.

The latest fatality is Shontell Cobb of Portsmouth, Va. She was one of five passengers – including her mother, Crystal Virgil, 22, of Portsmouth, and twin sister, Shantell Cobb – in a 1986 Honda Accord that apparently suffered some type of mechanical failure prior to the 5:43 p.m. accident.

According to a report filed by North Carolina Highway Patrol Trooper Glenn Bunch, Tyrone Leslie Collins, 16, of Kinston was operating the vehicle as it traveled north on US 13. Approximately one-half mile south of the NC/Va. line, the vehicle ran off the right side of the road, struck a ditch bank and overturned.

Bunch reported Shontell Cobb was ejected from the vehicle. He added that with the exception of Collins, no one in the vehicle was restrained by a safety device.

One other passenger – Monica Suggs, 20, of Kinston – was seriously injured. She was transported to Pitt Memorial Hospital in Greenville. Collins and three others – Virgil, Shantell Cobb and Eric Rodriguz, 17, of Kinston – were treated for minor injuries.

&uot;The driver informed me that he felt one of the rear wheels shaking just prior to him losing control of the vehicle,&uot; Bunch said. &uot;The markings I saw on the tire were consistent with what the driver told me.&uot;

Bunch said no charges have been filed at this time. However, he did mention the lack of child restraint and passenger seat belts as factors in this particular mishap.

&uot;It’s always worth repeating that seat belts and child safety seats save lives,&uot; Bunch concluded. &uot;It only takes a few seconds to buckle-up and just a minute or two to properly restrain a child in a safety seat. That time is well spent when it comes to the consequences involved in a motor vehicle accident.&uot;

One day earlier, Danielle Nelson, 13, of Woodland lost her life in a two-vehicle accident on US 258 in Northampton County.

In late March, Phillip Vick of Jamesville was killed in a two-vehicle crash that occurred at the intersection of NC 45 and NC 308 in Bertie County.

The first two fatalities of 2005 on R-C area roadways, one in late January and the other in February, involved Cofield residents.

The year’s first fatality was Cynthia Burke Winborne who lost her life in a single-car crash on the Ahoskie-Cofield Road. In February, Tyrone McCoy Carter Jr. was killed after the pick-up truck he was operating overturned three times after he allegedly lost control of the vehicle while traveling south on U.S. 13 near Powellsville.