02/01/07 — Girl, 12, in critical condition after crash

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Girl, 12, in critical condition after crash

By Lee Williams
Published in News on February 1, 2007 1:50 PM


News-Argus Staff Writer

DUDLEY -- They came from different places, but on Wednesday, two Spring Creek High School students and a Rosewood Middle School teacher's worlds collided in a tragic way in a head-on collision on Arrington Bridge Road.

Sonia Caroline Bartolon, 18, of Arrington Bridge Road, was traveling south on Arrington Bridge Road in a white convertible 2001 Mitsubishi Eclipse with her 12-year-old sister, Mary Lou, when she ran off the right shoulder of the road, Trooper J.L. Graham said.

"The driver overcorrected, crossed the center line and struck a white 1995 Buick Riviera head-on," Graham said.

Rosewood Middle School teacher, Phyllis Price, 49, of Sleepy Creek Road, was behind the wheel of the Buick and was trapped inside after the two vehicles hit leaving a mangled web of metal in their wake.

Members of the Wayne County Emergency Medical Services, officers from the Highway Patrol and firefighters from the Indian Springs, Arrington and Dudley volunteer fire departments responded to the accident at about 7:45 a.m.

Traffic was diverted for about one hour while rescue crews worked to render aid to the victims and to free Ms. Price from her battered Buick.

Graham said Ms. Price and Sonia Bartolon both received broken bones and abrasions. However, Mary Lou Bartolon received severe head trauma during the accident.

All were taken to Wayne Memorial Hospital and were listed in serious condition, Graham said. Mary Lou Bartolon was later transported by air ambulance to Pitt County Memorial Hospital in Greenville, where she was listed in critical condition.

Sonia Bartolon and Mary Lou Bartolon were on their way to Spring Creek High School at the time of the crash. Ms. Price, an eighth-grade teacher, was headed to work at Rosewood Middle School.

Sonia Bartolon told authorities she did not know what caused her to drift off the road and then lose control of the convertible.

Graham said the teen was ruled at-fault in the accident and cited for driving left of center.

The news of the incident rocked students and faculty at Rosewood Middle School when they learned what happened to one of their own.

Rosewood Middle School Assistant Principal Susie Shepherd said she was deeply troubled by the news.

"When you work with someone for years they're like family," Ms. Shepherd said. "We're doing the best we can to cope with it. It's very unfortunate."

Ms. Shepherd said their hearts go out to the Bartolon teens who were also hurt and added that she is thankful no lives were lost.