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Four men killed in wreck near Garner

Posted July 1, 2010
Updated July 5, 2010

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— State troopers have identified four men who died after being thrown from an SUV that wrecked on Rock Service Station Road near Garner early Thursday.

Troopers identified the victims as Detrique Baker, 18, of Raleigh, Evan J. Bridges, 18, of Garner, Larry D. Evans, 38, of Willow Springs, and Tony C. Smith Jr., 22, of Raleigh.

"It's been rough. Such a young life snatched away so soon," Smith's cousin, Carolyn Johnson, said.

Sgt. Jeff Gordon said the men did not have identification with them, so troopers had to rely on fingerprints and distinguishing characteristics to identify them.

The men were ejected from a 2003 silver Chevrolet Trailblazer that was speeding as it came around a curve, ran off the right side of road and then swerved to the left, went into a ditch and flipped over in a wooded area, according to Sgt. Bo Johnson. Three men were thrown about 20 feet from the SUV, and one man was thrown about 50 feet.

There were no witnesses to the wreck, which a passing driver reported around 3:50 a.m. The investigation was ongoing.

Troopers said they haven't determined which man was driving or how fast the SUV was going. The men weren't wearing seat belts. Troopers said they will use the medical examiner's report to analyze the mens' injuries to determine where they were sitting.

Baker played basketball as senior at Quality Education Academy in Winston-Salem last year and before that at Jacksonville High School.

Head basketball coach Isaac Pitts said that Quality Education Academy will dedicate the team's upcoming season to Baker's memory.

He "was a great student-athlete and a fine young man that will always be a part of our Quality Education Academy Family," Pitts wrote in an e-mail.

Family members said that Smith was earning his GED at Wake Technical Community College and had attended Middle Creek High School.

"The thing I'll remember out about him is his smile. I think he had a smile that just kind of melted hearts," Johnson said.

"As soon as he came in a room full of people, he would make sure he spoke to everybody. He would hug everyone in the room," she remembered. "He was just a bubbly person."

Evans had worked for D&E Paving company for seven years, family members said.

Evans has three prior convictions for driving while impaired and two for driving with a revoked license, according to state Department of Correction records. He was serving probation for a May conviction for assault with a deadly weapon. His criminal record dates to 1989 and includes larceny convictions.

DOC records show that Bridges was listed as an absconder from probation stemming from a March larceny conviction, and Smith had felony breaking and entering and larceny convictions from 2007 and 2008.

250 Comments

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  • iworkandpaytaxes Jul 2, 2010

    seriously. . . i wish people would just hush about talking about this story ! its over my cousins are GONE . . . what more is there to say ! everybody is up here making false statments , when they need to mind their buisness and shut up ! seriously. . . the funeral arragments have been made , they are GONE ! so what more is there to say . . . . . . . . .
    simoneharris12
    July 2, 2010 4:33 p.m.
    Report abuse

    We hope people read and pay attention so another tragedy might be prevented. This WAS preventable. You are thinking with emotions we are NOT. Dont like it? LEAVE!!

  • leo-nc Jul 2, 2010

    "i wish people would just hush about talking about this story"----

    It would probably be in your best interest to just stop reading the comments altogether.

  • simoneharris12 Jul 2, 2010

    seriously. . . i wish people would just hush about talking about this story ! its over my cousins are GONE . . . what more is there to say ! everybody is up here making false statments , when they need to mind their buisness and shut up ! seriously. . . the funeral arragments have been made , they are GONE ! so what more is there to say . . . . . . . . .

  • wildcat Jul 2, 2010

    I never said anything about race here..

    It is not about any race. Everyone of us will go through tragedy of some kind in our living days. Show compassionate to these families and realize that it could have been yours.

  • nkperryx Jul 2, 2010

    No, one reaps what one sows. How they died speaks to how they lived and has nothing to do with their racial make-up.
    colliedave

    I never said anything about race here.. as I said I lost a family member here and regardless of what you or anyone else thinks it hurts and was not deserved, regardless as to how they lived their life.. ones past is not at all indicative of their future, you don't know any of these guys ok.. please show some respect...

  • wildcat Jul 2, 2010

    For seconds, no one is forcing anyone, including yourself, to read or comment here.

    Maybe this one articly will save ONE TEENAGER life. You never know. Some teenagers do listen.

  • FE Jul 2, 2010

    "why couldn't this article just talk about another teenage death by car, like all the rest" - alittlestrenght2

    For starters, this is NOT "another teenage death by car, like all the rest" story. (One of the "teenagers" was 38 YOA and another was 22 YOA.) The police investigations are also continuing.

    For seconds, no one is forcing anyone, including yourself, to read or comment here.

    FE

  • wildcat Jul 2, 2010

    please close this story for comments

    No way. We can learn from others, the positive as well as the negative. Sorry for the loss. My condolences to the families and many friends and school mates. May God continue to see you through this difficult time. The sun is shinning on the other side of the clouds. Earth has no sorrow that Heaven cannot remove.

  • alittlestrenght2 Jul 2, 2010

    why couldn't this article just talk about another teenage death by car, like all the rest. what this is is another teens behind the wheel of a car. the other comments should not be posted. please close this story for comments

  • Diamond2010 Jul 2, 2010

    I agree with alittlestrength2, it's so amazing how the news always want to bring out a person's past. We lost 4 young men and their families are greiving! Where is the compassion for your fellow man. It would surprise alot of people if they only knew have the things from their family/friends past. Would like to know how you would feel if they had to judge you based on what the media wrote. SMH!!!

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