Young driver at fault in deadly crash

Published 11:12 am Monday, March 28, 2016

ROCKY MOUNT – TV news reports are quoting a top Nash County law enforcement official as saying that the four NC Wesleyan College students killed here Monday night in a two-vehicle accident was due to an “inexperienced driver.”

The 8:30 p.m. mishap on Wesleyan Blvd. (US 301) in front of the college campus claimed the lives of 20-year-old Robyne Barnes of Conway, Kandis McBride-Jones, 20, of Littleton, Quedeshia Brown, 20, of Henderson, and Donesha Scott, 19, of Raleigh. Barnes graduated from Northeast Academy in 2015.

According to WNCN News, Nash County Sheriff Keith Stone said the driver of the vehicle carrying the four students misjudged her turn off of US 301 and onto the main entrance of the college campus. Stone stated that Scott was the driver.

“It was just a case of an inexperienced driver who turned into oncoming traffic,” Stone told WNCN News.

He added that all four students were wearing seatbelts, and alcohol did not play a role in causing the crash.

From other news reports, there is a traffic light at that intersection, but one without a “leading green” (right-of-way for a vehicle making a left turn).

“You’ve got a young driver that was anticipating getting back to the school; you got a green light, but you got a sign up there that says yield to oncoming traffic,” Stone said in an interview with WTVD News 11. “They don’t see it at night.”

Stone said the vehicle that struck Scott’s car, an SUV driven by David Lee Pitt Jr., was traveling 45 mph at the time of the crash. He added that Pitt was not at fault and will not face charges.

Meanwhile, NC Wesleyan officials said they will ask the NC Department of Transportation to adjust the signal lights and consider whether a turn signal can be added at the entrance to the school.

NC Wesleyan hosted a memorial on Wednesday at the Dunn Center on campus.

Emanuel Williams, president of the Student Government Association, told CBS North Carolina the four women were always together and they resided in the same campus dorm.

“We loved them. We’re mourning. We’re grieving,” he said, adding, “One thing you should know is they loved everyone. They didn’t take life for granted. They’ll forever be part of our family.”

WTVD reported that prior to the beginning of the memorial, NC Wesleyan President Dewey Clark spoke about the accident.

“It is our greatest tragedy in the history of our school,” said Clark, who has since visited and prayed with all four of the families.

“I’m a father I have two children; I’ve lost a child, I know what this is like as I’ve been through it before, so I wanted to be there for them, answer any questions, just show them that we’re deeply sorry,” Clark said.

President Clark said the deaths hit the tight-knit, small college of 900 students hard. He said many of his students have never experienced a loss like this.

Friends of the young women say despite being freshmen, the group was already well known and well liked on campus.

“I knew all of them well,” said Wesleyan senior Darryl Hamilton Jr. “Now on this campus there is a unity, there is a oneness that has come as a result of this tragedy. If there is any good that can come from this, I think that would definitely be one.”