07/27/04 — Man killed in wreck, driver flees

View Archive

Man killed in wreck, driver flees

By Jack Stephens
Published in News on July 27, 2004 2:02 PM

A 28-year-old man died Monday of injuries from a hit-and-run collision at East Ash and North Jackson streets in Goldsboro.

The driver with whom the victim was riding ran from the wreck, but was arrested Monday night and charged with felony and misdemeanor traffic offenses.

The victim was identified as Tamarcus Lashawn Thomas of 1103 Olivia Lane.

Four people in a minivan that collided with the car escaped injury.

Thomas was cut from the rental car by Goldsboro firefighters soon after the 10:25 a.m. collision. He tried to flee from rescue personnel, police said. But he was subdued and rushed in an ambulance to Wayne Memorial Hospital. He died about two hours later.

The driver was identified as Demond O'Neil Pigford, 23, of South John Street Police Sgt. Grayham Keesler said this was how he was apprehended:

Witnesses followed the driver and saw him make a call on a cell phone. He was picked up by a woman in a car at Herman Street and Evergreen Avenue. Witnesses and police continued to pursue him. He jumped from the car at Kornegay and Walnut streets and fled into woods.

Officers thought they had the suspect surrounded, but he escaped. They found his cell phone. They later stopped the woman who had given him the ride. The woman and witnesses at the scene identified the driver.

Police then began a detailed investigation, taking photos and interviewing witnesses. With witness information, they obtained four warrants for the suspect's arrest. The driver surrendered to police at about 7 p.m.

Pigford was charged with felony involuntary manslaughter and felony hit and run involving personal injury. He also was charged with a yield violation and driving while his license was revoked.

Pigford was placed in the Wayne County Jail in lieu of a $12,500 secured bond.

Keesler, who was completing his report today, said Pigford was driving west in a rental car and "made an abrupt left turn into the path of the other vehicle," a minivan.

The driver of the minivan, Maria DelPilar Lorenzo, 28, of Will Anderson Road, Dudley, could not avoid Pigford's car and the vehicles collided, Keesler said. The passenger side of the car was pushed in "15 to 20 inches" from the impact, Keesler said.

Neither Ms. Lorenzo, nor any of her three passengers was injured.

Although Ms. Lorenzo drove her 1993 Mercury minivan away, Keesler said both vehicles were classified as total losses. Damage was estimated at $3,500 to the minivan and $6,000 to the 1999 Ford from Lee Rentals of Mount Olive.

The death was the third this year on Goldsboro streets and the 16th in Wayne County.