Local News

Son of Former Wake Representative Killed in Crash

Posted April 27, 2008
Updated April 28, 2008

— The youngest son of a former state legislator and an Enloe High School graduate died in a single-vehicle wreck about five miles west of Clayton early Sunday.

Joseph Michael Ellis, 21, of 3513 Auburn-Knightdale Road, Raleigh, was driving a Jeep Wrangler south on Government Road around 3:30 a.m., state troopers said. He ran off the right side of the road, near Barber Mill Road.

Ellis over-corrected, troopers said, and the Jeep crossed the center line and went off the left side of the road. The Jeep struck a mailbox, and Ellis again over-corrected, causing the Jeep to overturn.

Ellis was killed in the wreck, troopers said.

His passenger, whose name was not released, was taken to WakeMed. Troopers could not give an update on the passenger's condition.

Alcohol was a factor in the wreck, troopers said. Family members said they think Ellis fell asleep at the wheel. He and his passenger attended the Triangle Beach Music Festival in Garner earlier Saturday, relatives said.

Ellis – who went by Joe – graduated from Enloe and studied construction management as a junior at East Carolina University. He roomed with his 23-year-old brother, Josh, for the past three years.

"He was a son any parent would be proud to have," his father, former Republican Rep. Sam Ellis, 52, said.

"He had an extreme love of his family and would always end every conversation with each member of his family by saying, 'I love you,'" his mother, Cindy, 50, said.

Relatives remembered Ellis as a fun-loving, smiling man who could never have too many friends. He had a gang of cousins he spent much of his summers and holidays with.

Ellis had an entrepreneurial spirit and and worked for his father's company, Ellis Transportation Solutions, family members said. He planned to intern with Edwards, Inc., an industrial contractor in Greenville, this summer.

He is also survived by brothers Jason and Josh; his grandmothers, Betty Hickman and Vivian Smith; and numerous cousins.

Sam Ellis represented Wake County in the General Assembly for more than a decade. Linda Coleman defeated him in the 2004 election.


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  • deerheadsjb95 Apr 28, 2008

    Rip Joe Good Friend and great man you will be missed and to all why does it have to be turned into something neagtive there is enough damage done so just give support to the family that is what is imporant

  • NCcountryGirl Apr 28, 2008

    RIP Joe! You will always be missed, and never forgotten! Love you!!

  • jackadoo Apr 28, 2008

    nothing good happens at 3:30 am.

  • catwoman1 Apr 28, 2008

    My heartfelt prayers go out to the family. May God bless you and send only the peace and strength He can give during this time. Always remember that he told you he loved you....cherish that always because most teens, young men do not even bother. My son always says the same to us everyday and he's 17.

  • See Chart Apr 28, 2008

    I wish we could better explore why so many of
    our young people have the need to drink.
    I also wish more emphasis was put on "defensive
    driving" which teaches what to predict when something
    goes wrong on the road and how to correct the situation.
    Sorry for the family to have to go through this sad event.

  • isaywhatiwant Apr 28, 2008

    Rest In Peace. When will these kids realize drinking and driving is NO JOKE. You could be killed or an innocent person. Sad story

  • GoHeels1969 Apr 28, 2008

    RIP. Thoughts and prayers to the family.

    However, the family excuse of "falling asleep" when the report clearly indicates that alcohol is a facotr needs to be removed. I know they are feeling pain but they need to face reality that alcohol and poor decisions are why they lost their son--not his being sleepy.

  • tgw Apr 28, 2008

    May God's blessings be with the family in their time of loss.
    Alcohol and curvy roads-and 3:30 AM just do not mix.

  • tarheelblue1 Apr 28, 2008

    Our prayers go out to the family during this time of sorrow. Hug and Kiss your children and tell them EVERYDAY how much you love and care for them, because you never know when God will call them up. God Bless!

  • countess Apr 28, 2008

    I hate seeing all of the beautiful faces of these young people killed in accidents. Whe I see a picture, I almost hate to read on for fear it is because they are gone. May they rest in peace and may their families find strength. This is the hardest task of all for the parents.