12/03/06 — Details released on fatal accident

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Details released on fatal accident

By Lee Williams
Published in News on December 3, 2006 2:01 AM

Sweet. Loving. A girl with a big heart and a pretty smile.

That's how family and friends remembered 18-year-old Apryl Nicole Smith of Brantwood Drive who was struck and killed at about 10:30 p.m. Wednesday by a motorist who was only one year her senior.

Miss Smith and her boyfriend, Brandon Boyette, were walking north on Central Heights Road when Miss Smith was struck and killed by a 1997 Volvo driven by 19-year-old Joshua Paul Jendrisak of Amherst Place.

The news of Miss Smith's death devastated friends and family. Had she lived, Miss Smith would have donned her cap and gown and graduated from Eastern Wayne High School in 2007, her maternal grandmother, Geraldine Coats said Friday when reached by telephone.

But all Miss Smith's family is left with now are the memories and the what-ifs.

"She was a sweet, loving child," Ms. Coats said.

Miss Smith's mom, Charlene, echoed her mother's sentiments.

"She was a sweet and wonderful girl," Charlene Smith said.

Goldsboro police spent hours after the accident compiling evidence, reconstructing the scene and interviewing witnesses. Based on their investigation, they now know more about the accident that claimed the 18-year-old's life.

Goldsboro police Sgt. G.C. Keesler said no charges have been filed against Jendrisak. However, the final decision will be made by Wayne County District Attorney Branny Vickory, Keesler added.

"No charges are pending, and I don't foresee charging the driver, but charges could always be brought through the DA's office," Keesler said.

According to police, Miss Smith and Boyette were walking in the northbound lane heading north on Central Heights Road at the time of the accident.

"She was in the road walking beside her boyfriend," Keesler said. "They were pushing a Food Lion shopping cart with their backs to traffic in their travel lane. She was wearing a dark-colored coat, white pants and flip flops."

The area where the accident occurred -- near a dam on Central Heights Road -- is dangerous, the officer said.

"In this area, there's no light. It's pitch black here," Kessler said.

The force of the collision caused Miss Smith to impact the windshield and mirror on the passenger's side. She died at the scene.

Keesler said Boyette described the collision as "sudden."

"The boyfriend said one second he was talking to her, the next second she was gone," he said.

Jendrisak, who worked at a store in the Food Lion shopping plaza, had just left work for home. Keesler said Jendrisak tried to avoid the accident.

"He swerved to avoid the shopping cart and a person," Keesler said. "He knew he hit something, but he didn't know what he hit. He never saw Apryl. He noticed his windshield was busted, and he thought it was a deer."

Jendrisak went home, but quickly returned with his parents after his girlfriend told him that she thought he had hit a person, Keesler said.

Jendrisak was traveling at the posted speed limit of 45 miles per hour at the time of the accident, according to a Goldsboro police report. Keesler pointed to poor lighting as a contributing factor in the fatal accident.

"If there were better lights here in this area, this may have been avoided," Keesler said. "I don't believe speed or any other factors on the driver's part contributed to the accident."

Keesler said something needed to be done to fix the problem of poor lighting in the area, but he's not sure how the issue could be solved.

"This is a problem area because this is a dam, and they are not allowed to construct something here, so I don't know how they could resolve putting better lights in the area," Keesler said.