10/11/10 — 3 killed, 1 injured in crash

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3 killed, 1 injured in crash

By Gary Popp And Laura Collins
Published in News on October 11, 2010 1:46 PM

FREMONT -- Three people died and one was seriously injured early Sunday in a single-car accident on N.C. 222 near its intersection with Airport Road, investigators with the state Highway Patrol said.

Killed were Joshua Brantley, 25, of Fremont; Jacob Floars, 17, of Fremont; and Ashley Haskins, 18, of Fremont.

The driver, Mark Aaron Pope, 17, also of Fremont, was flown to Pitt Memorial Hospital where his condition remains critical, a hospital administrator said.

The crash happened about 3:30 a.m. Sunday. Speed was a major contributing factor, said Patrol Sgt. M.G. Conley, who investigated the accident.

Traveling west, Pope, who was the driver of the vehicle, lost control in a curve and the vehicle swerved across the center line several times before leaving the road and striking a large ditch, Conley said. The vehicle, a Honda Civic, is believed to have reached nearly 100 miles per hour, he added.

"The vehicle overturned several times before coming to a stop on its roof," Conley said.

Pope was the only person in the car wearing a seat belt, according to the report.

Floars was a student at Charles B. Aycock High School. Pope was a former student at the high school, as was Ms. Haskins, who graduated in May.

Saturday night was the school's annual homecoming dance, but there was no immediate connection made by investigators between the party and the accident.

Aycock Principal Earl Moore Jr. said this morning that the mood at the school was subdued. He said the staff had began making preparations Sunday to deal with students' shock and grief. Guidance counselors, social workers and psychologists were in place today to meet with grieving students or those who might be having trouble coping.

"A lot of students learned about the accident yesterday. So students deeply impacted may have stayed home," Moore said.

He added that he visited all the classrooms in the school this morning to check on the students and their teachers.

"It's a tragedy any time something like this happens to our students," Moore said. "We're a family here, and times like these we embrace each other."

There are no current memorial or prayer service planned at the school. Moore said the faculty's focus is on helping the students grieve and keeping things as normal as possible.

"We have 1,200 students, so it's important we continue with their daily routine. That's part of the healing process," he said.

Moore reiterated the family atmosphere at the school and said school officials are also keeping the families in mind.

"We're here to care for our students and staff and all of our hearts go out to the families of those involved," Moore said.

Ken Derksen, the public information officer for the Wayne County School District, said additional counselors and psychologists are being made available to help out.