Local News

Girl Riding in Pickup Bed Dies

Posted August 10, 1996

— August 11, 1996, 9:43 a.m. EDT

Riding in the bed of a pickup truck proved to be fatal for a 13-year-old girl Friday. She died, and nine other children were injured, in a crash on their way home from vacation Bible school.

Amanda Jane Nowlin and seven other children were riding in the truck's bed, and two children were in the truck's cab when it collided with a tractor-trailer.

State law prohibits children under 12 from riding in the back of pickups.

"None of the children was thrown out, We removed them when we got there," said Sgt. Michael Sharpe of the Statesville Police Department.

Bureda Hager of Statesville was the driver. She was the grandmother of two of the injured children. "The children wanted a way to Bible school and that was the only way we had," she said.

The tractor-trailer driver, Kenneth Ball of Phoenix, was also injured.

Hager and Ball could face charges of involuntary manslaughter or misdemeanor death by vehicle. Ball failed to yield, Sharpe said. He said Hager possibly violated a 1995 statewide law that forbids children under 12 from riding in pickup truck beds.

It's debatable, Sharpe said, because Hager's pickup had a camper shell, which could make it exempt from the law. The district attorney will decide what charges the drivers might face

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