Local News

Henderson community heartbroken over boy's death

Posted January 28, 2013
Updated January 29, 2013

— It's said that pictures speak a thousand words, and when it comes to Jayden Stokes, those words speak volumes – a happy, 5-year-old boy full of life, wearing a bright-red Gap shirt that matches his bright, big smile.

"He's a very loving child, a very intelligent child," his great-grandmother, Judy Buzzell, said Monday. "He's far beyond his years."

For example, at such a young age, God was already very important to him, and he had recently started becoming more involved in his church.

But Jayden's life was cut short Sunday afternoon, while on a walk with his father, when he was killed in what Henderson police have called a DWI-related death.

Jayden died at a local hospital; his father, Richard Stokes, 22, was in fair condition Monday at Duke University Hospital in Durham.

Vincent Gregory, 47, of 270 Sparrow Lane, was jailed under more than $1 million bond on numerous charges, including driving while impaired, felony death by motor vehicle and driving with a revoked license.

The news devastated Buzzell.

"I couldn't think," she said. "I think I just screamed in disbelief that this could have happened."

Police are still investigating the wreck but say that Gregory was traveling east at a high rate of speed on East Montgomery Street when he drove left of the roadway, hit a telephone pole, drove over the curb and hit the Stokes, who were on the sidewalk, head-on before landing in a tree. Judy Buzzell Great-grandmother devastated by boy's death

Keyla Lewis was in her home when she heard what happened.

"It was extremely fast," she said. "I heard the truck go 'whoosh' down the road, and when I heard the bump, I immediately ran outside."

At the site of the wreck now sits a makeshift memorial honoring Jayden. Dorothea Hansley placed a teddy bear there Monday afternoon.

"We loved that baby," she said.

Hanley not only knows Jayden's family, she also knows Gregory, and was in court Monday morning for his first court appearance.

"You could see it all over his face," she said. "He looked like he was breaking inside."

Buzzell says she hopes something positive can come from her family's loss and also hopes that it will make others think twice about getting behind the wheel when alcohol is involved.

"I want to see something positive come out of this," she said. "I need to know that this man is going to be punished for what he did."


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  • renna Jan 29, 2013

    Well the driver is in the VCJ with a bond OVER 1mil. hopfully he does get what he deserves. As a mother of two I can't imagine going through this and to read people's comments of feeling sorry for the driver...so sad

  • jessicaw1991 Jan 29, 2013

    I am and old friend to Jayden's mother...Candace I am SOO sorry, as a mother myself i can only imagine what you are going through right now. You, your family and Chads family will all be in our prayers!! I hope this man gets EXACTLY what he deserves! If you need anything please let me know....

  • sunshine1040 Jan 29, 2013

    Does anyone really believe that 6 months in prison will keep this man from ever driving again under the influence or just because he does not have a license. Get real he did not have a valid license for a reason. Now make sure he cannot ever drive anything with a motor again.

  • GravyPig Jan 29, 2013

    "The sad part is, most that write in the blog do not want this guy punished for the taking of a life"

    What are you smoking? Have you read the blog? I haven't seen one person with any sympathy for the driver. So where do you get the idea that most of us don't want him punished?

    "RE : I have zero tolerance for drunk drivers. Anything short of life in prison is not good enough....

    I agree, unfortunately, this behavior has become acceptable..."

    Speak for yourself. I don't consider taking another persons life acceptable and I doubt anyone else finds this accepatable.

  • GravyPig Jan 29, 2013

    "Sorry gravy but David is right. These statistics on deaths caused by drunk drivers is staggering and needs to be told." - Heavenly

    I have no problem with drunk driving statistics. When you start trying to make this a "gun" or "liberal" discussion you are trying to discuss something completely unrelated.

    I doubt that any rational adult, liberal or conservative, would not be against toughening or enforcing our current DWI laws.

    "when will this overly liberal society get he picture that crooks commit crimes and not the object they use"

    I agree that everyone deals with mourning differently. I didn't get a bit of that from his post. It came off as some sort of rambling commentary about blaming the guilty and not the gun/car that was used. At the time he wrote this there was no mention of blame to a vehicle or another inatimate object.

  • Lady Marksman Jan 29, 2013

    marciamal1 - are you serious??? "if you're out drinking be considerate of others and not drive."

    REALLY??? This guy has a criminal record that includes assault on a female, assault on a policeofficer, communicating threats and he was driving with a revoked license! Do you really think he (and other criminals like him) think about their potential victims??

    It's time the punishment fits the crime! Don't let another person suffer at the hands of this criminal!!!

  • renna Jan 29, 2013



  • Obamacare rises Jan 29, 2013

    Poor kid...such a shame.

    It's time for a public hanging for the dirt bag who did this.

  • kcollier39 Jan 29, 2013

    very sad for this family,but what is even sadder is their will be no justice for the family.

  • marciamal1 Jan 29, 2013

    This is such a sad story which could have been prevented if only the driver could have thought about getting behind the wheel and endangering others in his condition. I think everyone should learn a lesson from this - if you're out drinking be considerate of others and not drive. What is it with these people that have to go out and drink - get drunk and be behind the wheel? My thoughts and prayers go out to this family. I feel so bad for them - this whole thing could have been prevented.