Local News

Family Returns To Scene Of I-540 Accident

Posted June 22, 2001

— It has been more than three weeks since a horrific crash on I-540 killed four teenagers. The family that the teens crashed into are still recovering, strengthened by their family, friends and faith.

Maria and Eddie Knighten of Raleigh call it a miracle that they can stand at the scene of the worst moment of their lives.

"I saw the headlights come out of the median, and they were right on top of us," says Maria.

On May 30, an out-of-control Mistbubishi convertible crossed the median of 540 near Leesville Road and slammed into the front left side of their van. The four teens in the car were killed.

"We know we're blessed to be here. We know that it was more than just us being in a big van that saved us," says Eddie.

The Knightens have replaced their crumpled conversion van with a minivan.

The impact of the crash bent the steel clips on the safety seats where 2-year-old Sara and 4-year-old D.J. were sitting. Yet both children were only bruised.

"It is amazing that our family walked out with as few injuries as we did," says Eddie.

Eddie suffered a broken collar bone, their 6-year-old daughter Megan broke her arm, and Maria, seven months pregnant, had deep bruising to the abdomen.

She was driving the van and incredibly, the steering bent upward and missed her.

"When my husband finally pulled me over to the side of the road, I realized I'm in a little bit of pain here," says Maria, ruefully.

Maria went into false labor after the accident, but tests show her unborn baby appears OK.

"There's been trauma along the way, but we've been dealing with it, talking to our pastor," says Eddie.

Prayer has helped, and those prayers include the families of the four teenagers.

"That's when the realization set in of what has actually happened here," says Maria.

"We're going to teach our children about what happened here so they can understand the responsibilities of driving. There's no reason to be angry. We just need to learn from this what we can. God was watching over us," says Eddie.

The Knightens have hired an attorney to pursue the case. Eddie, a carpenter, has been out of work since the crash.

The Eagle's Nest Christian Fellowship Church has set up a fund to help them. If you would like to contribute, call 919-846-0470.

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