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Fayetteville teacher's assistant killed in wreck

Posted November 19, 2009

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— A teacher's assistant for Cumberland County Schools was killed and her daughter was seriously injured Thursday morning in a wreck on Strickland Bridge Road, police said.

A Dodge pickup was going westbound on Strickland Bridge Road at about 7:15 a.m. when the driver drove off the right of the road and clipped a bicycle, police said. The pickup driver then over-corrected and collided head-on with a Chevrolet Impala near the intersection with Jenna-Shane Drive, police said.

Fayetteville teacher killed in wreck Head-on collision kills Fayetteville teacher

"(The pickup) had hit, just scraped the handlebars of the bicycle, and (the driver) didn't even see the oncoming car," said Theresa Chance, spokeswoman for the Fayetteville Police Department.

The driver of the Impala, Tara Thompson, was pronounced dead at the scene. Her 11-year-old daughter, Shanice, was pinned inside the vehicle, and firefighters had to cut the roof off the car to pull her from the vehicle.

Shanice Thompson suffered serious injuries and underwent surgery at Cape Fear Valley Medical Center. Her condition was unknown Thursday.

Cumberland County Schools officials said Thompson was a teacher's assistant at Seventy-First Classical School, and police said she was on her way to school at the time of the wreck.

The pickup's driver, Johnnie Clint Nabours, of Burgaw, and two passengers, Mariano Vazques, 36, and Pedro Santos, 30, both of Burgaw, were also taken to Cape Fear Valley for treatment. Their conditions were unknown, police said.

The 18-year-old bicyclist, Blayne Ritter, wasn't injured.

Edith McNeill, who lives nearby, said she heard the crash and raced to the scene.

"I have never seen anything like that," McNeill said. "I took pictures so that I could remind myself how fragile cars are, how fragile life is. The one person, in my opinion, who didn't do anything wrong is now dead."

Police said charges are pending in the wreck.

Strickland Bridge Road was closed between Jenna-Shane Drive and Larwood Drive for more than three hours.

171 Comments

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  • Jack Flash Nov 20, 2009

    "If it comes between me having to avoid a bicyclist, and hitting another vehicle, sorry, the bicyclist is history..."
    What an appropriate username you have. You don't sound sorry at all. Consider using that pedal just left of the gas.
    "Bicyclists need to stay off the road, period !!!!"
    You should use more exclamation points. If you can't be smarter,at least you could be louder.
    "Okay bicyclists ! If that bicycle had not been there, there would not have been a wreck and subsequent death, correct?"
    And if the victim had called in sick due to a hangover she wouldn't be dead, either. What does that have to do with anything?

  • sggoodri Nov 20, 2009

    "You sometimes have to slam on your brakes in order to avoid lots of things, including other cars that are stopped or that might pull out in front of you. That's part of driving on the road and being a defensive driver."

    Or better yet, drive slowly enough that "slam" is a gross overstatement. That's what most drivers do. I never, ever have to "slam" on my brakes for traffic that is stopped or traveling slowly ahead; I simply adjust my speed to my sight distance as the law requires. Only traffic that suddenly _crosses_ my path unexpectedly causes me to "slam" on my brakes.

    In 30 years of cycling, I've never, ever, heard skidding of brakes behind me, or even harsh squealing of brake pads. Lawful bicycling isn't dangerous. Impatience and recklessness is.

  • sggoodri Nov 20, 2009

    The standard, appropriate government response to conditions where passing bicycle traffic is inconvenient is to improve the roadway to provide more space for passing. If North Carolina has other priorities for road improvements, so be it.

    Drivers who act recklessly under conditions of minor inconvenience or who fail to drive within their stopping sight distance are a danger to everyone. Let's focus attention on those who actually present the danger, not those who are acting legally and present no danger to anyone.

  • sggoodri Nov 20, 2009

    No amount of added requirements for licensing, insurance or fees for cyclists can protect the motoring public from other reckless motorists who violate § 20‑150.

  • sggoodri Nov 20, 2009

    § 20‑150. Limitations on privilege of overtaking and passing.

    (a) The driver of a vehicle shall not drive to the left side of the center of a highway, in overtaking and passing another vehicle proceeding in the same direction, unless such left side is clearly visible and is free of oncoming traffic for a sufficient distance ahead to permit such overtaking and passing to be made in safety.

    (b) The driver of a vehicle shall not overtake and pass another vehicle proceeding in the same direction upon the crest of a grade or upon a curve in the highway where the driver's view along the highway is obstructed within a distance of 500 feet.

  • Rolling Along Nov 19, 2009

    @ LadyBlue-The Phoenix...how about we tax ALL vehicles based on weight and the amount of damage they cause to roadways...say $1 a pound? That means $35 for my bike and $3500 for your car. Sounds fair to me. Cars and trucks as a form of transportation are heavily subsidized.

  • JustAGirl Nov 19, 2009

    I find it morbid and in poor taste that the person who heard the crash rushed to the scene and took pictures.

  • ladyblue Nov 19, 2009

    And to all these lead-footed drivers in here who think that bikes should be registered, pay taxes, and have insurance, you all need to get some common sense. blossom

    Don't mind you riding your bike but you should be made to have tags, and insurance to drive it on public roads just like other vehicles. As I said this goes for mopeds as well. I use common sense and common sense tells me the chances of a bicycle against an automobile or some other large vehicle is pretty low odds of whose going to get hurt. But if you should cause me to wreck I expect you to have insurance to cover my damages. Drive all you want but be insured. I know this biker didn't cause the wreck and I'm glad the truck missed him or it could have been two deaths here.

  • twc Nov 19, 2009

    If it can't come close to traveling at the posted speed limit, it doesn't need to have any right of way on the roadway. I feel the same about roller skates, skateboards, tricycles, etc. The exceptions are when the roadway is blocked off to motor vehicles.

    How many more have to die before someone uses commonsense?

  • ladyblue Nov 19, 2009

    Look people. This accident is ENTIRELY THE TRUCK DRIVER'S FAULT. ed

    i know it's the truck driver's fault from the way the article is written , but I still stand that if you don't have license and insurance on the vehicle you're driving you need to stay off public roads. the truck swerved over and hit the bicycle. It could have also been the biker hurt as well. I'm glad he won't this time. Again, My heart goes out to this family...........

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