Local News

Four Children Among 7 Killed In Richmond County Wreck

Posted February 15, 2004

— Seven people were killed in a traffic collision Saturday morning in Richmond County.

The collision occurred shortly before 9:30 a.m. on U.S. 220 four miles north of Ellerbe.

According to investigators with the Highway Patrol, a Country Coach motor home was traveling north on U.S. 220 and towing a Ford F-150 pickup truck. A Ford Aerostar minivan traveling south on U.S. 220 ran off the roadway on the right. The driver lost control of the vehicle, crossed left of center traveling sideways, and was struck by the motor home.

Ten people were in the minivan. Three adults and four children died.

One child was ejected from the minivan. The other three occupants were airlifted to Chapel Hill, where they all were listed in critical condition Saturday night.

The driver of the motor home, 78-year-old Stephen Hrobuchak, of Welton, Ariz., was treated at the scene for minor cuts caused by broken glass from his windshield. There were no other passengers in his vehicle.

Two infants were among those killed, said Highway Patrol Sgt. C.G. Logan.

"Just a tragedy is what it was, just a total tragedy," Burr said.

The seven fatalities were identified as: Rocio Jimeniz Castillo, 24; Rigo Jiminez, 24; Alicia Jiminez, 25; Naivith Castelland Jiminez-Meza, 8; Lionardo Pacheco Jr., 2; Elvis Pacheco, 15 months; and Rosanra Jiminez-Meza, 13 months.

Jessica Jiminez-Meza, 5; and Alexander Pacheco, 4, were both in critical condition late Saturday at UNC Hospitals in Chapel Hill, a hospital spokeswoman said. Victor Hugo Jiminez-Meza, 2, was in good condition.

Rocio Jimeniz Castillo was the driver. No charges will be filed since Castillo died.

All 10 people in the minivan lived in Candor, N.C.

Neither vehicle was speeding. Investigators said heavy rain at the time may have contributed to the crash.

Troopers closed down the highway for about six hours.

The patrol will continue to investigate.

The accident was the second since late December to claim as many lives. Seven teenagers died in Iredell County on Dec. 29 while being chased by police.

North Carolina's transportation department said the two crashes were the deadliest in the state since 10 Plymouth High School students died in Washington on July 30, 1997.

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