Local News

Freak Accident Leaves Fayetteville Businessman in the Hospital

Posted September 20, 1998

— A freak accident has left a prominent Fayetteville businessman fighting for his life. Fred Clark was taking a walk near his house in Myrtle Beach when he was hit by flying debris from a plane crash.

The entire community is praying for the swift recovery of the civic hero.

At the administrative offices of First Citizens Bank in Fayetteville, calls of concern keep pouring in.

Fred Clark, 61, has been in the banking business since 1969. The business and civic leader is the former President of State Bank of Fayetteville and has worked at First Citizens Bank since State Bank was acquired in 1995.

Clark was walking his dog Sunday near his second home in South Carolina when witnesses say burning debris from a plane crash hit him.

The four people on board the plane died. Clark is now at a burn center in South Carolina with severe burns on 90 percent of his body.

Friends say he walked his dog often and was on a vigorous exercise routine. He had plans to retire in February and play golf.

"My hope would be long-term, he could recover and do those sorts of things," a colleague said.

His friends say Clark knows everybody in the business community. He is also known for his kindness and generosity with non-profit groups. He serves on several boards and recently served as President of the Boys and Girls Club.

"You would expect some invisible bubble to appear around him and keep something like that from happening to him," John McGee, of the Boys and Girls Club, said.

The accident has overwhelmed the Fayetteville Community. Ironically, the plane's pilot is being hailed a hero for trying to land the troubled aircraft in a less populated area.

Clark is in critical condition. His wife and two children are with him in South Carolina. ,Julie Moos

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