Local News

GM offers assistance investigating fatal crash involving Cumberland teacher

Posted May 13, 2014
Updated May 15, 2014

A school bus and vehicle collided on U.S. 401 South near Lillington on May 9, 2014.

— General Motors has contacted the North Carolina State Highway Patrol regarding an accident that killed a Cumberland County high school teacher.

William Neil Parnell III, who taught at South View High School in Hope Mills, died Friday after his Chevrolet Cobalt crashed into the back of a stopped school bus. Troopers said Parnell, 39, did not brake and plowed into the back of the bus.

The Cobalt is part of two nationwide GM recalls for sudden power steering loss and faulty ignition switches.

It's still unclear if the mechanical problems played any role in the crash, but General Motors has offered to help the Highway Patrol with its investigation by providing any needed information, Trooper D. Pope, who is investigating the crash, said.

The Highway Patrol’s accident reconstruction team will review the accident later this week, Pope said.


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  • MindBomb May 14, 2014

    After this fiasco, I most likely will not buy another GM car. I am sure their offer to investigate this accident is to somehow try and prove nothing went wrong with their defective parts.

  • Forthe Newssite May 14, 2014
    user avatar

    I would think that GM has quite enough on it's plate w/ all their recent troubles. I'm just surprised they are still in business.

  • MindBomb May 14, 2014

    The whole recall by GM is a very scary issue. My car has already been proven to be defective twice now. My most recent letter from them stated it was going to take a long time to get parts. I worry every time I get in my car, especially driving 40 & 540 everyday. I did find it funny that the last line of the letter was "Always wear your seatbelt".

  • Dwight Fields May 14, 2014
    user avatar

    Sounds like someone (GM) is circling the wagons. I think I might reconsider their "help" with this and WRAL....it's "BRAKE" not break....where did you get this copy?

  • Lightfoot3 May 14, 2014

    "To print that someone "did not break" is correct." - -V-A-V-A-V-

    The correct word is "brake", not "break".

  • Obamacare returns again May 14, 2014

    I'm thinking a large, retractable air bag on the underside of the bus would do the trick. It inflates each time the bus makes a complete stop, deflates and rolls back underneath the rear bumper as the bus is shifted back into drive and exceeds 15 mph.

  • sinenomine May 14, 2014

    Ligon, I don't buy your reason for not having bumper underriders on school busses. It seems to me it would be easy enough to install recovery points on the chassis. If need be holes could be provided in the front and/or rear bumpers by which to access them.

  • Obamacare returns again May 14, 2014

    Large capacity school buses make under guards very difficult to accomodate. With the amount of rear overhang necessary for maneuverability, the rear bumper of a bus can come very close to the ground when going over an incline.

    Under-ride guards would cause serious problems for school buses.

  • Richard Eskridge May 14, 2014
    user avatar

    Perhaps WRAL should put the [i]brakes on their online reporting until they improve their copy-editing.[/i]"On" is a preposition. You do not end sentences with prepositions. To print that someone "did not break" is correct. Or, would you like the link to the APA style guide?

  • Forthe Newssite May 14, 2014
    user avatar

    "did not break and plowed into the back of the bus."

    you guys should REALLY be ashamed of some of the stuff you print.....you really, really need a human editor....