Local News

3 Family Members Killed in Accident on I-95

Posted November 25, 2007

— Three members of a family were killed in a single-vehicle accident that shut down half of Interstate 95 in Johnston County overnight Saturday.

Judith Days, 62, of Ocala, Fla., was driving home from a Thanksgiving trip to Massachusetts, along with her husband, children and grandchildren.

Troopers said she was likely distracted before the van struck a sign on the right side of I-95 South near mile-marker 79. Days over-corrected when she pulled the van back onto the road, causing it to overturn several times. The van came to rest upright in the median.

Two children were killed: William Harper, 4, who was in a booster seat, and Jessica Harper, 15, who was ejected from the van. Days also died in the accident.

Three other occupants suffered non-life-threatening injuries and were transported to Betsy Johnson Regional Hospital: the children's mother, Colleen Harper, 38; Russell Days, 62, the husband of Judith Days; and Paul Arthur, 40, the son of Judith Days.

All three were treated and released by Sunday afternoon.

A dog in the van was also killed, troopers said. Another dog was being cared for by animal control until the family was ready to take it home.

I-95 South was shut down for nearly 3 hours while the wreckage was cleared. Traffic was detoured around the scene.

Jessica was not wearing a seat belt. Of the adults, only Arthur and Judith Days were wearing seat belts.

Troopers said drugs or alcohol were not a factor in the crash.


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  • mommy2caroline Nov 26, 2007

    I am certainly not passing any judgment or blame on anyone as to how the child was in a booster seat but I am sad that others were not belted at all. Unfortunately, this becomes yet another tragedy to affirm why my barely 3 year old daughter will remain extended harnessed until 65 lbs. I do not trust booster seats with regular seatbelts. Little kids don't have a chance in them.

  • Lightfoot3 Nov 26, 2007

    Such a sad, sad story. But if some invisible god was going to act, the time was when the van was rolling, not now.

  • OLD PIRATE Nov 26, 2007

    Are all of these accidents in Johnson County happening around the area that the speed limit is reduced...I think this area is dangerous as you can't simply drop the speed on an Interstate and expect ALL the traffic to woa up...

  • Sopranos Justice Nov 26, 2007

    "The government requires children to be in a booster seat saying that it's soooo much safer. If the booster seat was installed properly and the child still died, the public should be made aware of the facts."

    Just remember, if a vehicle is barrel-rolling, the best-designed/installed booster seats are no guarantee. They would need a five-point harness and a NASCAR roll-cage to truly be safe...

    This story breaks my heart...,y thoughts and prayers go out to all involved...truly a tragedy

  • xchief661 Nov 25, 2007

    I am so deeply sorry for this mother and this family. I hope they find comfort in their faith and eachother. What a heartbreaking devastating pain to endure to lose your children and your mother. What grief they must be suffering. You are all in our prayers. God Bless!

  • lynddsy Nov 25, 2007

    this is so sad and i pray GOD helps them in this time of need. makes me wonder if the driver might have doused off.

  • xchief661 Nov 25, 2007

    This is a horrible thing to happen to anyone. A mother has lost both of her children and her mother. The grandad and the uncle have also had a horendous loss. I don't know how this mother or family will get through this heart breaking tragedy but I hope they will find comfort in their faith and eachother. I am saddened at the loss of this family. God Bless!

  • KniftyKnitter Nov 25, 2007

    How on earth does wondering if the booster seat was installed properly make me a ninny? I don't think God was involved in the installation of that booster seat. I'm also not placing blame on anyone. I was personally wondering if the seat was installed properly. The government requires children to be in a booster seat saying that it's soooo much safer. If the booster seat was installed properly and the child still died, the public should be made aware of the facts. As a parent, I want to know the safety of booster seats! Again, my prayers go out to this family.

  • veekee Nov 25, 2007

    Booster seats aren't really installed, they just raise the height of the child and are held in place by the child's body and the seat belt, unlike a carseat for a toddler or infant. I hate to hear such a sad story. Those poor people.

  • headlong Nov 25, 2007

    Thoughts and Prayers with the Family!!!