Local News

Three Teens' Killed in Plymouth Wreck Buried...

Posted August 3, 1997

— Family and friends bid tearful good-byes to Bobby Burden, 16, and his brother Damien, 17, today at Second Zion Grove Baptist Church in Plymouth. Fifteen-year-old Rashad Malik was also laid to rest Sunday afternoon. His funeral was conducted at Christian Chapel A-M-E Zion Church in New Bern.

Their funerals are among a total of 10 that the small Washington County town is dealing with. Clayton Chesson, 15, was buried Saturday.

Hearts are heavy as people try to cope with the deaths of 10 young friends who are remembered as good kids, achieving students and credits to their families, school and community.

The teenagers were returning from a lunch break from band camp at Plymouth High School. Their Ford Explorer van attempted to pass three cars in a no-passing lane on NC 45. Their vehicle collided head-on with a tractor-trailer. Eight of the 10 teenage passengers were 15 or younger.

The tractor-trailer attempted to avoid the crash, and jack-knifed across the road. The truck driver received no physical injuries.

Clayton Chesson was recalled fondly in services Saturday as a fine teenager with a special love for the saxaphone and for music. As the young man's family and friends said goodbye to Chesson and dealt with a shattering number of deaths, Pastor Rodney Williams reminded a packed Bethel Church of Christ congregation that no matter how old or young we may be, we will all leave this earth.

There will be much more grieving in Plymouth during the coming week. Norman Wilson's funeral is Monday at 11 a.m. at the Pentecostal Temple Church of God and Christ. Funerals for cousins Felicia Davis and Christy Toodle will also be held Monday. Their funeral is at 3 o'clock at Plymouth High School.

Funerals for cousins Rico Blount and Marcus Bratts will be Tuesday at 2 p.m., also at Plymouth High School.

Services for Erica Downing are scheduled for Wednesday morning

A public memorial service for all the students who were killed in the accident will be held Thursday evening at 6 at Plymouth High School.

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