Teen killed when SUV hits pole on NC 150

Published 12:00 am Saturday, December 10, 2011

By Mark Wineka
SALISBURY — Three people, working as a team to administer CPR, were unable to revive a 17-year-old woman who died from her injuries in a single-vehicle accident Saturday on N.C. 150.
Until emergency responders arrived, nearby residents also tended to four others hurt in the wreck, including three children 5 years old and younger.
Those hurt were taken to Carolinas Medical Center-NorthEast. Their injuries were not considered life-threatening.
Trooper D.R. Morgan of the N.C. Highway Patrol could not release names Saturday, pending notification of all family members. He confirmed that the victim was a passenger in the Chevrolet Blazer, which was being driven by another 17-year-old female.
The woman who died ended up on the ground about 100 feet from where the sports-utility vehicle came to rest. But Morgan said more investigative work was needed to confirm that she was thrown out of the car.
The accident happened about 1:38 p.m. between Briggs and Patterson roads near a side street called Moore Haven Drive.
The top of the SUV was caved in, suggesting it had rolled. It also hit a utility pole before coming to a stop in the front yard of a home across from Diamond Auto Sales. Debris from the battered car littered the yard.
Traveling west on N.C. 150 away from Salisbury, the Blazer apparently left the road to the right coming out of a curve and could not extract itself from a steep ditchbank as it kept moving. While people inside their homes heard the crash, no one on site later actually saw it happen.
Claire Maxwell and Candace Hartsell were among the first motorists to stop, and they were assisted by a man whose identity is not known.
“I had no idea what I was coming upon,” said Maxwell, who was heading back home to Mooresville with her son after attending a ceremony at the Salisbury National Cemetery. She is a flight attendant for US Airways.
Hartsell, a respiration therapist at CMC-NorthEast, also was traveling toward her home on Patterson Road. She started CPR on the female victim, who was motionless in the yard. Maxwell and the man spelled her with the compressions.
“She wasn’t breathing,” Hartsell said.
They continued until emergency responders could arrive. “It felt like it took forever when we were doing CPR,” Hartsell said.
Meanwhile, witnesses said a boy passenger, about 5 years old, was out of the vehicle, as was the driver. Two younger children were in car seats inside the SUV. Dena Senpkhamhong, who lives where the Blazer landed, was among those who held the crying children and wrapped them in blankets.
The little boy looked to have hurt his back, she said.
When she first went outside, loud music was blaring from the wrecked vehicle, Senpkhamhong said.
She called 911 and handed the telephone to Maxwell moments after she arrived.
The speed limit on this section of N.C. 150 is 55 mph, and people who live here, including Susan Page and Carson Ingram, said wrecks happen on a regular basis.
“It’s ridiculous,” Ingram said.
Locke Fire Department, Rowan County EMS and the Rowan Rescue Squad were among the agencies responding. Duke Power also was called in to handle the broken utility pole.
Westward traffic on N.C. 150 had to be detoured onto Briggs Road, while eastbound traffic was directed onto Patterson Road.
Contact Mark Wineka at 704-797-4263.