Local News

Fire hides identities of three dead in Wake wreck

Posted July 8, 2012
Updated July 9, 2012

— Authorities will have to wait until at least Monday to be certain of the identities of the three people who died early Sunday in a fiery crash on Old Weaver Trail near the border between Wake and Granville counties.

According to the state Highway Patrol, the driver lost control of his car near Cash Road, ran off the road and slammed into a tree. It wasn't clear what caused the wreck, but authorities said the car was engulfed in flames before emergency personnel arrived. All three were pinned inside.

Stella Reason said that man behind the wheel was her nephew, Martin Kokus, of Rougemont.

"You don't expect to wake up at 7:30 in the morning and get a call that a family member has gone through this," she said. "It's just hard to deal with."

Fiery crash claims three lives in Wake County Fiery crash claims three lives in Wake County

Reason and her husband went out to crash scene seeking answers, but there were few to be had. The bodies of those in the car were so badly burned that troopers could not even say for sure what sex they were. Authorities will wait for the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner to make a definitive identification. 

Reason said Kokus was a graduate of Person High School who was involved in his church and had a passion for music.

"He was very talented, and he loved his family, and he was an all-around good kid," she said. "It's just really heart-breaking for the whole family."


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  • sorensonjc Jul 11, 2012

    I heard there were bystanders there before the fire, however the fire occurred before they could get anyone out....wonder why the bystanders didn't sustain any injuries? We live in a society where nobody risks anything to help someone, how did this happen?

  • esteryates69 Jul 10, 2012

    This wreck happen not so very far from where we live.As soon i hear about this horrible accident i star praying,they was saved,died before the car got on fire.It only take a blink of the eye to call out to God and be Saved.I have keep praying for there family and friends.And will keep on.One of the family member said i think it was her nephew,and he was actives in church,just finish high school.This was a night mare for they family,and away will be.God will comfort all of you.I know from a death of a child,for our oldest child die in a car accident at 22 years old in 1982.We will keep all in our prayers.

  • btneast Jul 9, 2012

    I was taught that a full tank is safer than a near-empty one, in a crash.

    ....that only applies if the fuel tank doesn't rupture.

  • simplelogic Jul 9, 2012

    I was in a head-on collision in 1984, driving a small Nissan pickup. My passenger and I were able to get out, but the truck burned up completely. The fire started small, in the engine, and consumed the entire vehicle within about 10 minutes. I don't know if gas was even involved - it had about a half-tank of gas in it, but didn't explode. However, if we had been unconscious and nobody around to pull us out, we would have burned anyway...

    Such a sad story...I can't imagine what the families are going through.

  • LordHelpUsAll Jul 9, 2012

    Praying for the families. This is a horrifying accident. Hopefully the impact killed them all instantly and they didn't suffer. Maybe the coroner can at least tell the families that much. So sad. :-(

  • zentyger2 Jul 9, 2012

    I was involved in a similar crash a couple years ago. While avoiding another car that swerved suddenly into my lane, I lost control and wound up running off the side of I-40 down a bank and into a tree.

    I awoke in the hospital some time later, absolutely blessed the car (a Nissan Altima) didn't ignite. Now I drive a diesel which is a much Much less volatile fuel than gasoline.

    My condolences to the family.

  • storchheim Jul 9, 2012

    But isn't it the vapors that ignite, not the fuel? I was taught that a full tank is safer than a near-empty one, in a crash.

  • gingerlynn Jul 9, 2012

    One was my daughter's classmate. So sad. The phone call every parent dreads.

  • jblake1932 Jul 9, 2012

    I know two of the people and their families. Can't imagine what they are feeling, no matter what caused the crash.

  • Bill of Rights Jul 9, 2012

    nomorethanthat: I'm not sure that anything substantial has changed in cars over the past 20 years ... fuel injection systems can operate at high pressures, but that's for a small portion of the entire fuel system and it typically involves a very small amount of fuel. The brushless electric pump in the tank runs at a low voltage. I think what's probably happening is that high speed collisions make it far harder to contain the fuel in an accident -- and if you've got a full tank (with, say, 15 gallons), it's inevitable that some of it will ignite.