Local News

Campbell student hit by bus in Buies Creek

Posted April 11, 2013
Updated April 12, 2013

— A Campbell University student was hit by a charter bus near campus in Harnett County Thursday afternoon, according to a university spokeswoman.

William Lawrence, a freshman from Belmont, was struck on U.S. Highway 421 in Buies Creek shortly before 3 p.m. He was taken to WakeMed, where he was listed in critical condition early Friday.

University officials said the driver told investigators that Lawrence did not look toward the bus as he was crossing the highway and that he didn't see the student until it was too late.

"He did not see the student until the student was in the middle of the road," said Britt Davis, the university's vice president of institutional advancement. "He said he put on the brakes. The student was walking very quickly but apparently, was unable to make it across."

Lawrence did not cross in a crosswalk, and authorities said he might have been wearing headphones when he walked into the bus' path. 

Sierra Wilson was driving through the area when she saw the bus hit Lawrence.

"It sounded like two cars collided, but it was really a charter bus and a human," she said. Wilson saw Lawrence go flying into the air, and she stopped to help.

"He was in bad shape," she said.

Bus hits Campbell student Campbell freshman hit by bus near campus

A North Carolina State Highway Patrol trooper, who was down the road when he saw the accident, also arrived at the scene quickly and was able to perform CPR on Lawrence, who was conscious and talking before he was airlifted to the hospital.

Witnesses, however, said he had severe head injuries.

U.S. 421 was closed for a short time after the crash, but it reopened around 4:30 p.m.

The bus was carrying 43 workers with the North Carolina Grower's Association from Kinston to Vass.

Alcohol was not a factor in the crash, troopers said, but the driver was asked to take a drug test. Those results are not immediately available.


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  • sunblazn Apr 12, 2013

    My letter to officials in hopes they will fix this
    Attention Campbell University Officials,

    In light of the recent events on your campus, as a member of the Buies Creek community, please do something about these crosswalks! As I drive through campus daily it is alarming at the number of students who NEVER look to cross the road. I understand fully that the pedestrian has the right of way however, you need to emphasize the importance of looking first, then crossing! I would also like to bring up the roundabouts, horrible idea! Drivers fly through those as if they're in a race track! It's inevitable someone will be hurt there as well and I pray that never happens. Instead of focusing on the sidewalks, landscaping, roundabouts, bronze statues, new buldings etc. put those heavy donations to good use and provide adequate safety precautions. A suggestion for the roundabout would be as simple as a speed bump! Thank you for your time and I sincerly hope this matter is addressed!

  • one Apr 12, 2013

    WRAL, you really need to change the video link text on your article. For instance, this article has a video link that says:

    "WATCH: Campbell freshman hit by bus near campus"

    I know it's not your intent, but it reads like you have video of the wreck & are willing to show it.

  • one Apr 12, 2013

    You must not understand the concept of right-of-way. A pedestrian in a cross-walk has the same right-of-way that you have as a driver with a green light or turn arrow. That means everyone else is required to yield to YOU by law. If you ever get t-boned by someone running a red light maybe other people will blame you for not looking to be sure it was clear to go through your green light.

    Sad situation all around
    But some of the comments on this articles are concerning.
    You may know traffic laws, but I suggest you spend more time studying the laws of physics.
    A 2 ton vehicle traveling at 45 miles an hour needs ~ 150ft to stop - & that is slamming on the brakes.
    I never assume that because there is a crosswalk, I can enter it & vehicles have to stop. I care too much for my well being to place it in the hands of others.

    Look both ways, cross quickly when it's clear & don't stand too close to the road.

  • sayitoutloud Apr 12, 2013

    I rode thru this area just this week. I noticed that every person I seen walking across "assumed" the vehicles were going to stop and MOST were looking down at their phones while crossing. One never even looked up to see if anything was coming. I know pedistrians have the right of way, but you have to have and use some kind of common sense when crossing a rode.

  • Wags Apr 12, 2013

    The driver said that the man stepped into traffic without looking. He also said that he didn't see the student until he was in the middle of the road. If that is the case, how does he know he steped into traffic without looking?

  • zonk Apr 12, 2013

    Wearing headphones. Enough said !

  • 3 Girls in Apex Apr 12, 2013

    I was at a very busy intersection in Cary yesterday afternoon and noticed a young man with full headset walk across a street at a cross walk with a crossing signal that was blinking RED. He did not wait for the walk signal giving him the right of way, never looked but thank God, the first driver to that intersection was paying attention. People need to think, look and then cross regardless of signals. It only takes a second to make the right decision.

  • sunblazn Apr 12, 2013

    so how does the bus driver know if he didn't look if he didn't see this guy until it was too late?

    My thoughts exactly Monkeyface!
    Someones lying!

  • sunblazn Apr 12, 2013

    My sympathies to all involved however, Campbell University officials need to bring awareness to these students!!! I drive through campus all the time and these students, NEVER LOOK! In all honesty the crosswalk on 421 is so dangerous and most drivers never stop when a student is trying to cross. Ultimately is should be shut down and Campbell should provide a transport system for their students to cross 421 safely! The other day I had to stop for them and the drivers behind me were honking horns and flailing arms at me, who was actually obeying the law that the pedestrian has the right of way! Sometimes I wonder if people get their drivers license from a cereal box! Again, praying for this gentleman, his family and the witnesses.

  • ncsislamesauce Apr 12, 2013

    Having made that run across 421 while I studied at Campbell, I would wish they would come up with a better way to cross.

    The speed limit there is 45, but you still feel like you're playing frogger with your own life trying to cross. I know many still speed through that section, as it isn't patrolled much.

    That still doesn't make it right for a pedestrian to step out into traffic without looking while wearing headphones.