10-year-old recalls crash: ‘I thought it was a dream’

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, January 29, 2013

SALISBURY — Behind a front door with no handle, in an old office chair with no back, Charles Patrick Jr. could have been any other 10-year-old boy.
Aside from a light-colored suture line protruding from the stitches in his upper-lip Monday, Patrick showed no evidence of being in a horrific crash that killed six people — some of whom were his best friends.
Patrick was thrown from a GMC Envoy that careened into a tree on South Rowan Avenue in Spencer Jan. 18. Of the nine people in the vehicle, he was one of three that survived.
But as grieving families continued with the funerals Monday, Charles Patrick Sr. said he’s dealing with other problems.
Medical bills have started arriving. Bills, he said, he can’t pay.
“We’re blessed to have him,” Charles Patrick Sr. said, “but he’s got to live with this. It’s going to take a toll. These bills got to be paid.”
Charles Jr. awoke in the street.
Despite having VACTERL Association — a series of non-random birth defects that have affected his organs, including his hands — the 10-year-old opened the back hatch of the burning SUV and pulled Davion Williams to safety.
“It was on fire,” Charles Jr. said of the GMC. “I didn’t see how the car looked cause it was on its side.”
Williams, 6, and his twin, Javion Williams, have been in Brenner Children’s Hospital in Winston-Salem since the crash.
One first responder later told Charles Sr. his son lay clutching Davion Williams in the dark.
Charles Jr. “was holding the other little boy when he got there,” Charles Patrick Sr. said Monday. “To know he was out there in the dark by himself…”
Killed in the crash include: Angela Dunlap, 28; her daughters Da’Ja Cathcart, 10, and Taliah Williams, 8; Sean Javon Jacobs, 25; Vincent McNeal, 45; and 4-year-old Karizma Nichole Sexton.
On Monday, authorities said Dunlap had been traveling 67 mph in a 30-mph-zone and slowed to 57 as the GMC slammed into a tree.
Charles Jr. had been sitting beside Javion and Davion Williams in the back hatch of the SUV, he said. They had no seat belts.
One of the last things he heard was Sean Javon Jacobs telling Dunlap to slow down, Patrick said.
A few seconds later he opened his eyes in the dark.
“I thought it was a dream,” Charles Jr. said.
Charles Patrick Sr. said he hasn’t had a job in about a year.
His previous employment was with a relative in Mooresville, Patrick said, but he left after injuring himself in an accident for which he later received workers’ compensation.
Patrick said he’s reached out to insurance officials and an attorney for advice on the bills.
But none of the responses have been promising, he said.
So far, he’s been billed $1,725 for a brief emergency room stay at Rowan Regional Medical Center.
He’s sure more bills are to come, including those for physical therapy and psychotherapy.
Charles Jr. is on Medicaid, he said, but he doesn’t expect any help on the bills because the vehicle insurance should cover it.
Charles Patrick Sr. said he’s been informed Dunlap’s insurance coverage was $60,000 total personal liability payout.
But with the Williams twins remaining in hospital care, Charles Sr. said, his financial woes are minute.
“That’s the way the ball bounce,” he said.

Contact reporter Nathan Hardin at 704-797-4246.