Local News

Family, Friends, Classmates Mourn Death of 2 Wilson Students

Posted September 17, 1998

— The flags at Hunt High School are flying at half staff, in memory of the two teenagers who were killed Friday when their sports car slammed head-on into a school bus.

Friends of the teens visited the accident scene trying to make some sense out of the tragedy. Kelly Dean was a good friend to Blake Taylor, one of the victims in the accident.

"I loved him so much, he was like my little brother," Dean said.

Memorial services for Taylor have been set for 2 p.m. Sunday at the Forest Hill Presbyterian Church.

It was supposed to be a happy day for Dennis Williams. He was celebrating his 17th birthday. Instead, a cross marks the spot where he died.

His father will alway remember the special bond Dennis shared with his mother.

"It was just amazing how the bond between him and his mother was so real, and so lovely, and so caring," Dennis' father said.

Dennis' pastor says he had a desire to succeed.

"If someone would say he couldn't do it, he would work even harder to do it," pastor Darryl Canady said. "I will always remember his tenacity."

"I never had a son, and he was the image of what I would probably want my son to be," family friend Shirley Wynn said.

Faculty members and students at the high school remembered the students that died.

"Both of them were fine young men," said Hunt High School Principal Bill Williamson. "It's a tremendous tragedy for these young people to lose their lives at this time. Our hearts go out to their parents and relatives and all their friends."

"He was a nice person," explained Hunt High School student Demetrius Best. "Everybody got along with him, joked with him. He was an all right person."

The accident occurred around 7:45 a.m. on N.C. 42, about a mile from Hunt High School.

Investigators say that Taylor, who was driving, was speeding and then crossed the center line.

Witnesses say the white Mazda Miata was speeding around a curve, crossed the center line and slammed head-on into the bus.

"All you saw was children jumping out of windows and coming out of emergency doors to get away from the car, because everything was smoking," said witness Rose Davis.

"It was probably the worst thing most people have seen in their lives. It's a severe tragedy. And if I'd like to say anything it's to tell kids if they're driving vehicles, the old cliche is proven: 'Speed kills,'" witness John Tuggle said.

About 30 students from Springfield Middle School were on the school bus. Twelve students on the bus and the bus driver suffered minor injuries.

Some Springfield parents went to the accident scene to pick up their children. The other students were taken to school on a different bus.

Observers say the students left the scene with emotional scars.

Wilson County Schools Superintendent Larry Prince expressed his concern about the middle schoolers. "Even before nine o'clock this morning, we had our Wilson County crisis teams in place. And our school psychologists and counselors who always assist in issues like this are on-site at both Springfield and Hunt this morning," Price said. Lynda LovelandChad Flowers,Julie Moos,Jason Darwin

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