Local News

Benson Woman Dies in Wreck

Posted January 9, 1999

— A quiet Sunday morning spent at church, then followed by lunch with friends has ended in tragedy. Opal Barefoot, 78, of Benson died in a wreck that injured four other people.

She was riding in the backseat of a white Lumina driven by her sister, Neva Parker, on Highway 242 just south of Benson.

Norwood and Belinda Howell were riding in their pickup truck when, investigators say, it was hit by the Lumina as it was turning back into the church parking lot.

Friends of the women in the Lumina say the three had attended services at the Fair Haven Church of God, then went to lunch together.

"They always liked to go to church and do things for God. That was their life," Coraleene Sloan said.

Sloan heard the crash, followed by the police emergency report.

"I just heard a noise and then it came through the scanner, and I was looking out and knew something had happened," Sloan said.

Trooper Jeff Gordon said that a witness was driving behind the Lumina, and reported that the car attempted to make a left turn, but did so across the pick-up's path.

Parker and passenger Agnes Young were flown to Duke Hospital, where Young is in critical condition. No information was released on Parker's condition.

The Howells received minor injuries.

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