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'Help is coming': Driver comforted 9-year-old who lost brother in I-40 crash

Posted April 12

— A Cary man made sure a boy was able to escape from a burning vehicle after a fiery crash Tuesday afternoon on Interstate 40 and stayed on the scene until emergency crews arrived.

Mike Beauchamp is still struggling with what happened when he stopped to help after the deadly crash.

“The mom was calling out ‘help me’ and the flames were curling out from the inside of the car, over the roof,” Beauchamp said.

The fiery scene on I-40 near Benson has haunted Beauchamp’s every waking hour and sleep hasn’t come easy since the Tuesday afternoon crash.

“Little Daniel’s hands…the innocence just in his hands and his voice,” he said.

Beauchamp said he and his daughter were heading to the beach when he saw the crash happen a few cars ahead of them.

Authorities said Angela Jones, 32, was driving with her two sons, 11-year-old Isaiah Jones and 9-year old Daniel Jones, when she made an illegal U-turn, crossed the median and ran into the path of oncoming traffic, causing a four-vehicle collision near the 322 mile marker.

Beauchamp said he immediately tried to help the mother and two sons trying to escape the burning vehicle.

“Little Daniel came around the car and he said ‘momma, momma’ and he was going toward his mom and his brother, and I put my arm around him and I said ‘Daniel, help is coming for your momma’,” Beauchamp recalled.

Jones and Daniel both survived and were taken to the North Carolina Jaycee Burn Center at UNC Health Care but Isaiah died in the crash.

Beauchamp said all he could do was comfort little Daniel.

“He wanted to lie down. I laid down with him and I had my arm on his back and he just kept moaning every once and a while ‘it hurts, it hurts’,” Beauchamp said.

Beauchamp calls Daniel a little hero, but he hasn’t been able to get Isaiah out of his mind.

“I just don’t know. Could I have gone up there and grabbed his arm? I don’t think I could have,” he said.

Dwight Solomon, who also witnessed the crash, said he did grab the car door and tried to yank it open to save Isaiah, who was barely visible through the smoke and flames, but he was too late to help the boy.

“I keep second guessing, was there anything I could have done different,” he said. “I just hate I couldn’t save that one boy that was in the back.”

The boys’ father, Ricardo Nunez, said Jones remained in critical condition and Daniel’s condition was improving.

"He's blistered up on his face," Nunez said. "I barely recognize him, but I know it’s him.

Now, Nunez must figure out how to bury one child and support the other one.

"I just thank God that at least he left me one child. He could have taken them both."

Beauchamp said he hopes to reunite with Daniel and meet Nunez one day to let him know how brave his son was in trying to help his mother and brother.


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