Families, Friends Mourn 2 Teens Killed in Crash
Posted October 1, 2007
Benson, N.C. — Two families and many friends are mourning after two teenagers who perished in a single-car accident in Johnston County on Sunday night.
The accident happened on a rural stretch of Old Fairground Road where it intersects with Stevenson Road shortly after 11:30 p.m.
Shortly after rounding a curve, the car driven by Anita Danielle Vann, 18, of Willow Springs, ran off the right side of the road and hit a ditch. The car flipped several times, ejecting Vann and her passenger, Justin Blake Strickland, 18, also of Willow Springs.
Both died at the scene, state troopers said. Neither was wearing a seat belt, and troopers estimated the car was going 70 mph. The speed limit there is 55 mph, with a suggested 35 mph limit going around the curve.
Strickland and Vann grew up on the same street and were lifelong friends, Vann's cousin, Tiffani Bowling said,
She remembered Vann as "a great person, best friend, everything." Vann went to Garner Senior High but left before graduating, Bowling said.
"We were actually supposed to start back at Wake Tech for our GED next week," Bowling said.
Strickland attended West Johnston High until September of 2006. They were all very close, almost like family, Bowling said.
"He was also a great friend. He was someone you could talk to," she said.
Strickland's family declined to comment.
Orange spray paint marked the accident scene as troopers continued to sort out exactly what happened.
Investigators said they don't know if alcohol or drugs were a factor in the crash. They were awaiting a report from the Chief Medical Examiner's office in Chapel Hill.