Local News

Mock Accident Upstaged by Real Wreck

Posted March 20, 2008
Updated March 22, 2008

— Two Princeton High School students were injured in a Thursday morning wreck as students at another high school gathered for a mock drill designed to discourage drinking and driving.

A 1998 Chevrolet car was eastbound on U.S. Highway 70 Alternate near Country Store Road shortly before 9 a.m. when it ran off the road, said Trooper Anthony Carlton, of the state Highway Patrol. The driver, Christopher Massengill, 18, of Selma, over-corrected, and the car collided with a tractor-trailer as the car spun around, Carlton said.

The car was split in half by the wreck, but neither Massengill nor his passenger, Ashley Everman, 18, were seriously injured, Carlton said.

Massengill was transported to WakeMed, and Everman was taken to Johnston Memorial Hospital. Massengill was discharged Friday afternoon. Everman has also returned home from the hospital.

Truck driver Jackie Toler, of Kenly, who works for James Paul Edwards Trucking, was uninjured in the wreck, Carlton said.

The two students were heading to Princeton High after dropping Everman's child at a day-care center, said Crystal Roberts, spokeswoman for Johnston County Schools.

Meanwhile, troopers conducting a mock drill at West Johnston High School about the dangers of drinking and driving had to leave to respond to the wreck. School administrators announced to students that two of their peers had been involved in a wreck on the other side of the county.

"This significance (of the mock drill) is, obviously, they're able to see what we're talking about. They're able to see the tragedy," Trooper Michael Dorsey said.

Troopers had performed a similar presentation at Princeton High on Wednesday, Dorsey said.

"It is disheartening to the patrol, but the only thing we can do is continue to try to get our message across and, hopefully, eventually, these teenagers will get the point," he said.

Less than two weeks ago, Princeton High senior Katlyn Bell died in a crash on another rural road. Because Johnston County led the state in teen traffic fatalities last year, local authorities have been aggressively cracking down on unsafe driving.

State troopers, Johnston County deputies and local police officers planned to be out in force Thursday night, when most area high schools held their annual proms.

An initial investigation into Thursday's wreck determined speed was a factor, Carlton said, and charges were pending against Massengill.

U.S. 70 Alternate was blocked for about an hour after the wreck, but troopers were able to direct traffic around the wreckage.


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  • simplelogic Mar 25, 2008

    Several years ago I was involved in a head-on collision when a woman ran off the road and over-corrected right into my path. My truck burst into flames - I would have been dead if not for my seatbelt. That incident convinced many people to wear seatbelts, after seeing what I walked away from.

  • bhartley3 Mar 21, 2008

    Unfortunatley, most young adults think that nothing bad will ever happen to them. I used to think the same way. I was careless and wreckless, but as I matured, I realized that the reason that I was doing these things was to show off and that I wasn't afraid of a little speed. I was very lucky that I didn't become a statistic, however, I had a few friends in high school that did. Unless they realize that showing off is uncool and safe driving is cool, it's hard to say when these accidents will stop. I wonder if a few trips to the morgue to see kids their age would help.

  • ncsulilwolf Mar 21, 2008

    It's prom season already?

  • Shadow213 Mar 21, 2008

    look at that car! i can't believe they "walked away," either!

  • leo-nc Mar 20, 2008

    The story wouldn't have been boring if they had done it right and split the stories up.

  • fl2nc2ca2md2nc Mar 20, 2008

    Wow, it's amazing that they "walked away" from that one...

  • djofraleigh Mar 20, 2008

    Some reporter made a boring story sound interesting with the clever title, and got two stoies in one...congrats.

  • nandud Mar 20, 2008

    Thanks, seankelly1, for the comments. I might just do that for my younger daughter. She's of a different cloth from the older one. And "not_enuff_time" I agree, this country is too "sue-happy" but sometimes parents are the ones who teach their kids the bad habits they themselves do in a car--speeding,tailgating, not signalling when turning, eating, drinking, cussing other drivers. At least in a driver's ed class, (which was 12 hours long, not 24, of which maybe my daughter spent four of those behind the wheel because there were two other kids in the car), I would hope that the responsible teacher would at least "teach" the kids the rules of the road before the parents teach the "ins & outs." Sometimes, parents AREN'T the best teachers, and I speak from experience because I was a teacher for 15 years.

  • Just WhiskeyKel Mar 20, 2008

    So the visual aid worked then.

  • seankelly15 Mar 20, 2008

    nandud - The Drivers Education program offered by the local schools are free. They cover the basics of driving (right turns, left turns, stopping and parking). If you want training in driving on the freeway, or on slippery surfaces, or running off the road, then enroll the child in a defensive driving school where you will find vehicles in which these dangerous procedures can be safely practiced and you will have instructors trained to teach these maneuvers.