Local News

Wayne County Teen Killed In Car Wreck

Posted September 26, 2002

— A Wayne County woman remains hospitalized in intensive care after a crash Wednesday morning that killed her teenage son.

The Highway Patrol said Charlotte Hardin ran a stop sign and cut off a school bus loaded with elementary students 6 miles east of Highway 117 near Pikeville.

Troopers said Marie Smith was driving students to Northeast Elementary School when she collided with the vehicle driven by Hardin.

Troopers said Hardin ran a stop sign and drove into the path of the bus. The bus later crashed into the side of a nearby barn.

Hardin's 15-year-old son, Dekota, a passenger in the car, died on the way to the hospital.

The children on the bus were treated for minor injuries. Antioch Fire Chief Durwood Smith said Smith's quick thinking prevented more children from being seriously hurt.

"She said when she approached the intersection and saw the car coming, she slowed down and all of a sudden, the car pulled out in front of her. She was more concerned about the safety of the kids and keeping that bus from turning over as she drove it right into the barn," Smith said. "She was doing everything she could to keep the bus from flipping."

At Charles B. Aycock High School, students and teachers mourned the loss of the ninth-grade student.

"He was a new student, a ninth-grader here, made lots of friends, an energetic kid, and so we have counselors available to those friends that he made here at Charles B. Aycock," principal Randy Bledsoe said.

"He was beginning to find a place to belong in our program. He had gotten his uniform. He wore it every week proudly. He had made his first promotion and was extremely proud of that," JROTC instructor Col. Robert Hasty said.

Charlotte Hardin is listed in serious but stable condition at Wayne Memorial Hospital. Troopers said she will likely be charged.

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