Local News

Fayetteville Teens Recovering From Wreck

Posted March 19, 2003

— Fayetteville police are investigating whether something in the tire of an SUV contributed to a single-vehicle wreck that killed a 12-year-old girl and injured seven others Wednesday evening.

Fayetteville police said eight people were in a 1988 Ford Explorer when the driver, Jason Frazier, 18, lost control on Raeford Road near Cindy Street around 7:30 p.m.

The group, ranging in age from 11 to 21, was headed to a skating party.

Crystal Leadbetter died. A week after the wreck, her 13-year-old brother, Corey, is listed in good condition at WakeMed in Raleigh.

Krystal Martin, 13, is in good condition at Cape Fear Valley Medical Center. The other passengers were treated and released.

Police said only the driver and Martin, who was in the front passenger seat, were wearing seatbelts. The six other passengers had lowered the back seat and were sitting in the cargo area.

Fayetteville police are investigating whether something in a tire forced the driver to overcorrect and lose control. Investigators said Frazier was trying to switch lanes, overcompensated and flipped over.

Witnesses described the vehicle weaving between lanes before it flipped.

Police found an object in one of the tires and are investigating whether that could have contributed to the crash.

"It could be something in the road or something in the tire already that caused a slow leak, where maneuvers caused the tire to come off its rim or decrease the pressure and deflate quickly," said Sgt. Alex Thompson of the Fayetteville Police Department.

Thompson said charges could be filed.

Everyone in the vehicle lived or stayed in the same Dairy Drive neighborhood off Raeford Road.

Crystal was a seventh-grader at Douglas Byrd Middle School.

"[Crystal] would help me with anything I needed help with. She was good with math and I was learning stuff from her," classmate Adam Huaman said.

Adam's foster mother said he got very emotional when he heard the news.

"It's sad being one of the friends at his school," Linda Williams said.

Counselors were available to students at the school Thursday.

"Right now it's pretty sad, it's pretty quiet. We've talked to the students and are allowing them the time to express their grief. This is a sad day at Douglas Byrd Middle School," principal Lodis Gloston said.

Counselors were also available at Ireland Drive Middle School, where two of the injured students attend fifth grade. More than 60 children from both schools have sought counseling. Seven students were allowed to go home.


Melissa Buscher


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