Local News

Boy killed trying to board Harnett County school bus

Posted October 25, 2012

— A 12-year-old Harnett County boy died Thursday morning when he was hit by a van while trying to board a school bus near Coats, authorities said.

The wreck happened along N.C. Highway 27 near Bill Avery Road at 6:55 a.m. as Adam Kempf, a seventh-grade student at Coats-Erwin Middle School, tried to board a bus that was stopped with its stop arm out.

Kempf was taken to Betsy Johnson Hospital in Dunn, where he later died.

The North Carolina State Highway Patrol said Fernando Ortiz-Soto, of Sanford, was driving the van that hit Kempf and that he swerved to avoid the child.

Ortiz-Soto, whom immigration officials placed on a detainer to determine his legal status, was charged with death by motor vehicle and driving without a license. He was jailed under a $50,000 bond.

The cause of the wreck is still under investigation, but alcohol and speed were not factors, according to authorities.

The boy's mother, Sharon Kempf, said he was the youngest of five children and was a mature child who exceled in school and loved to read.

On Wednesday night, she said, he had been talking about how he wanted to lead the country when he grew up.

"He said he was going to be president, and he would make gas 99 cents a gallon," Sharon Kempf said.

Adam Kempf Boy killed while trying to board school bus

She and his sister were on the front porch watching her son at the bus stop, she said, and, at first, thought the van blew a tire.

"I watch him cross the street every morning," Sharon Kempf said. "I never thought, I never dreamed that anything like this could happen to my baby."

"When he started going in the street, he said, 'I'll see you when I get home, and the next thing I remember is that sound," she added.

Adam Kempf's sister, Pamela Kempf, also saw the wreck.

"He didn't see it coming at all. He had no idea. I didn't see it until it happened," she said.

What she did see were her little brother's books in the road.

"I called out his name, thinking maybe he just dropped them, maybe he got scared, maybe he got out of (the way)," she said. "I called out his name, and he didn't answer me."

Patricia Harmon-Lewis, a spokeswoman for Harnett County Schools, said the bus was taking children to Coats-Erwin Middle School at the time of the wreck.

Twenty-five children were on board at the time, and they were taken to school by another bus and met by a crisis team, Harmon-Lewis said.

Parents were notified about the wreck and were given the option to take their children home for the day.


This story is closed for comments.

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  • educgrad Oct 29, 2012

    my heart goes out to the family.this happened in our neighborhood to friends of ours 4 years ago.

  • MarkNC Oct 26, 2012

    Time of accident: 6:55 am. Sunrise on this day: 7:32 am with civil twilight at 7:05 am. Remember that NC keeps its daylight savings longer now. Please consider this.
    Note: I drove school buses for Rowan County, NC for 2.5 years.

  • alwaysCool Oct 26, 2012

    prayers to this family.

  • esprg Oct 26, 2012

    I do not want to think about it or even imagine what his family and the other children saw. My prayers and heart to all involved...:(

  • gingerlynn Oct 26, 2012

    And WITN reports another person killed in DUI accident by a John Doe because they can't figure out the driver's identity. Two tragic deaths in two days that could have been avoided. Who is next? Your child? Mother? Brother?

  • jacamoe Oct 26, 2012

    Someone that does not have a license because they are illegal aliens/immigrants evidently do not know our rules here. If so, he would have not killed this poor families child. God will take care of you. I am truly sorry this happened . It would hurt the same if it was someone driving that actually had license and belonged to our USA. We must hold all these folks accountable for their criminal behavior while here.

  • damangum0708 Oct 26, 2012

    If you are able to help please donate to the funeral fund for Adam. His family can not afford the expense.


  • Brogden Oct 26, 2012

    Yesterday when this story first was on WRAL I posted to GOLO that I wondered since he had no license to drive if he also did not have insurance and if he were in the coutnry legally. WRAL didn't post the comment. Now, the report verifies two of the three questions - no license, held by ICE - and the insurance question is, I am sure known but not reported. Gee, WRAL, I was just ahead of the curve!

  • Desiderata Oct 26, 2012

    Some comments here are totally irrational..."sue the state , Bev Perdue, the President.." for illegals here with out licence. They cannot scan EVERYONE out there driving for being legal/illegal or having a licence or not without something happening to have them check either status. We need to say NO to any illegals and not be sympathetic to those who proudly say they are here illegal ( there is a group of them who are proud to say they are here as illegal immigrants , and if this guy is illegal , what are they saying now? ).
    BLessings to the family who are suffering through this tragedy. Words are a little comfort for them, but all we here can offer.

  • rhowerton Oct 26, 2012

    This Is A Prime Examble Why We Need A New Congress & President For The Next 4 Yrs To Keep People Like This Off Our Roads Killing Our Children & Love Ones, Giving Us Our Job's Back, Just Saying Wake Up People !!!! My Heart Is With U Ms. Sharon, Michelle Nanna & The Family, Love U All. RIP ADAM