Four people died in a head-on crash in Wayne County that happened Sunday afternoon on U.S. 13.
GOLDSBORO, N.C. (WTVD) — Four people died in a head-on crash in Wayne County that happened Sunday afternoon on U.S. 13.
North Carolina State Highway Patrol confirmed a 4- and 1-year-old were among the victims.
It happened on U.S. 13 near Jordan's Chapel Road around 5 p.m.
Investigators said a Toyota Camry crossed over the center line and crashed into an oncoming vehicle.
Everybody involved in the crash died from their injuries.
Troopers said speed and alcohol contributed to the crash.
Neighbors living near where the crash happened said they heard the crash and couldn't believe the aftermath.
"Those cars were really messed up. They had pieces coming off of them when they loaded them up on the road to take them away," Johnny Grady said.
Grady said it's the first major crash he's ever seen in that area, but he knows cars regularly speed through there.
"I heard a motorcycle go by the day before yesterday, and it was I would guesstimate it was running probably 130 mph. It was like just a blur," Grady remembered.
He said the speed of drivers on U.S. 13 makes him and his family more cautious when exiting their driveway.
"We turn our signals on well ahead of time and we really pay attention," Grady said. "If somebody is really, really close, we might go by and turn around down the road and come back again. But we do have to pay attention."
The ABC11 I-Team previously reported that rural roads across the state are more prone to severe accidents.
The I-Team analyzed crash data to reveal that 64% of the state's severe accidents during the past decade occurred on rural roads. An average of 883 fatal accidents occur on rural North Carolina roads each year. In 2021 and 2022, the number of fatal accidents topped 1,000.
"Every time something like that happens, I try to learn from that because you might have a different situation tomorrow than you saw or had today," Grady said.
Alcohol is also a top factor in severe crashes across the state.
In 2022, alcohol-related crashes accounted for 25% of roadway fatalities across the state.
Nadia Mathurin, a victims' specialist for Mothers Against Drunk Drivers (MADD), said she hopes the Wayne County crashes remind drivers of what is at stake when they chose to drink and drive.
"It's just unfortunate that it has to be children. But hopefully, the one and the four-year-old resonates especially with families, you know, and with mothers," Mathurin said.
She said many of the families of victims that she works with are angry about these ongoing crashes.
"They feel that it's a choice somebody chose to drink and get behind the wheel. So it's 100% preventable and it's frustrating," she said.
Wayne County reported 111 injuries from crashes involving alcohol and six deaths in 2022.
"We have a lot of hope that we will see some sort of end to this. But honestly, we keep seeing it over and over," she said.
Since 2020, the percentage of statewide fatal accidents that have involved alcohol has increased. Thirteen more people died last year in an alcohol-related crash than in 2021.
"I'm hoping at some point, you know, just hearing these stories and I'm hoping that if people realize the importance of it and just take action for their actions," Mathurin said.
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