Mom killed, kids hurt in Sunday mishap

Published 10:15 am Tuesday, September 27, 2016

AHOSKIE – Charges have been filed in a vehicle crash near here Sunday morning that claimed the life of a woman and injured her three children.

North Carolina Highway Patrol Trooper K.R. Genao charged 35-year-old Buddy James Tripp of Newport (Carteret County) with misdemeanor death by motor vehicle, driving while license were revoked, careless and reckless driving, and a child restraint violation.

Genao’s report showed that Tripp was operating a 2004 Cadillac SUV south on the Lee Jernigan Road (RP 1101) at around 11:40 a.m. on Sunday.

At a point approximately 1.7 miles south of Ahoskie, the vehicle crossed the center line, and ran off the road to the left. After leaving the roadway, the vehicle initially collided with a ditch before striking a culvert, then a bush and a second ditch.

The vehicle continued moving from there as it then impacted a tree, causing it to overturn before finally coming to rest in the yard of 439 Lee Jernigan Road.

A front seat passenger, 34-year-old Bobbie Sue Lassiter of Newport, a native of Hertford County, was not wearing a seat belt and was ejected. She was taken to Vidant Roanoke-Chowan Hospital in Ahoskie where she later died as result of the injuries she sustained.

There were three children in the back seat of the vehicle. An eight-year-old female and a nine-year-old male were unrestrained and both were ejected into the yard of where the vehicle came to rest. The third child, a one-year-old, was properly restrained in a safety seat.

The children were transported to Vidant RCH.

“All three of the children were injured, but none of those injuries were considered life threatening,” said First Sgt. Mike Warren of the Highway Patrol’s District office in Ahoskie.

Tripp, who was wearing a seat belt, received minor injuries, Warren noted.

“Our investigation into this accident continues,” Warren said. “It has not yet been determined if drugs or alcohol were involved on the driver’s behalf, and we will also perform a reconstruction of the crash scene area to check and see if speed was a factor.”

Warren did rule out distracted driving per a check of Tripp’s cell phone.

“He (Tripp) was cooperative and allowed us to check his cell phone to see if there was any activity at or near the time of the accident,” Warren said. “We did not find any activity at that particular time.”

But still there was a fatality, something that Warren and his staff work so hard to prevent.

“One death a year is one too many for us,” Warren remarked. “Here we have a young woman who lost her life and we have three young members of her family that were injured. I can’t stress enough the importance of wearing a seat belt as studies have shown how they save lives as well as preventing serious injuries.

Please make sure you and your children are properly buckled up and please focus 100 percent on your driving.”

Trooper Genao thanked Hertford County EMS and the Ahoskie Rural Fire Department for their quick and professional response to the accident scene. She added that two off-duty nurses also stopped to offer assistance.

The fatal accident was the 10th of 2016 in the NCHP’s Troop A / District II area (Bertie, Hertford and Gates counties). Four of those fatalities have occurred in Hertford County.

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

email author More by Cal