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Johnston County teen killed in wreck; passenger injured

Posted June 15, 2012

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— A Johnston County teen died Thursday night when she lost control of her car on Princeton Kenly Road and ran into a ditch, state Highway Patrol officials said. 

Troopers believe Sarah Elizabeth Earp, 16, of Kenly, was speeding when she lost control of her car around 8 p.m. Earp was pronounced dead at the scene.

Earp's passenger, 17-year-old Stephanie Heaton, was airlifted to WakeMed, authorities said. She was in fair condition Friday morning. 

Authorities said both Earp and Heaton were wearing seat belts at the time of the wreck. 

No other information about the wreck was released.


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  • Kaitlyn Jun 18, 2012

    I'm very sorry for the families affected by this tragedy.

    I have only been driving a few years myself and I remember when I first got my license the temptation I had to see how far I could push it when it came to things like speeding. Driving is a new experience for a 16 year old, and I think most people that age have a natural urge to test the limits of this new freedom they have.

    What helped me be a better driver is my daddy taking me out to an isolated country road when I got my learners permit, and showing me what it was like to skid on ice or go off the road and regain control of the car, and to feel the anti-lock brakes engage in a hard stop. Once he even made me drive for a short ways with my eyes closed and explained that's as dangerous as texting while driving. That scared the pure-t out of me but I got it.

    I never went to one of those driving schools but I think they are a great idea. Insurance companies should offer discounts for people who attend them.

  • BEACH Jun 15, 2012

    Prayers for this family

  • IzzMad2016 Jun 15, 2012

    Kids and cars....a big responsibility that too many don't seem to take as seriously as they should. I see so many young drivers speeding or tailgating or darting in an out of traffic every day. Kids think they are "bullet proof" and that bad things won't happen to them because they are the best driver ever. Sympathies to the family for the loss of their child. Very sad.

  • TimeWillTell Jun 15, 2012

    Sigh. It is an imperfect world we live in. Yes, people should drive more safely and courteously. Yes, driver ed should be more comprehensive with more seat time. Yes, enforcement of traffic laws is arguably lacking. So deal with it. You can wail about how the world needs to change or you can take measures to prepare your kids to deal with it as it is. Scaring them with gory pictures or taking their car away if they get a ticket is simply not going to train them to deal with emergency situations that happen TO them as opposed to being caused BY them. My kid avoided a t-bone collision when another driver ran a red light because he PRACTICED the scenario in car control school. His friends who witnessed the incident both said they would have hit the other car. It's your decision, parents. Wring your hands or do something positive. And may God be with us when all we can do for our children is not enough.

    My most sincere condolences to the families involved.

  • news4u Jun 15, 2012

    The video is on abc11 and there's a photo on WTSBradio.com...

  • Six String Jun 15, 2012

    I'm sorry for the family's loss, it's about the worst thing that can happen to a parent.

    It seems (?) that about once a month there is a report of teen's death or injury from a car accident in Johnston County. Is this attitude, bad roads, coincidence, or is that area just plain unsafe? It's a rhetorical question.

  • katiebridgette Jun 15, 2012

    My children's driving instruction started in elementary school, with the grocery cart. They want to push, they can under my direction. When they lose control or are disobedient, I get it back. "Driving" the cart is a good way to learn to pay attention to other "drivers". Getting hit by a grocery cart is something they can understand!

    Next comes the push mower and then the riding mower (with supervision!). They also get to drive the boat.

    These activities help them learn to see what it going on around them and how it might affect them.

    My point is that teaching this kind of responsibility doesn't start with a learner's permit.

  • Desiderata Jun 15, 2012

    Sorry for the loss of life, and the passenger and friends/family learned a hard lesson from this. SPEEDING CAN KILL YOU OR A LOVED ONE1 BUT the older women in the white car who did over 80 to get past me this morning on 42 bypass in Sanford,just to get in front., May you live another day despite your foolish act! You wouldn't even look at me when I tried to get your attention sitting next to you at the light!

  • kckauf Jun 15, 2012

    Could not agree more with you, beaulahjackson4.

  • Bradley07 Jun 15, 2012

    2 words SLOW DOWN!! Teens are not the only ones speeding!! Everyone needs to slow down.