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Relatives in shock over Brunswick family's death in wreck

Posted March 9, 2011

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— Nobody saw it coming. As the Williams family rounded a curve on Camp Branch Road near Supply Tuesday afternoon, they slammed head-on into a school bus, suddenly and tragically ending four lives in one calamitous instant. 

Joshua Williams, 31, his wife Brandy, 30, and their two boys, Joshua, 9, and Gavin, 6, were all together in the family's Chrysler sedan on the winding, curvy two-lane road in rural Brunswick County about five miles from their home. The road is not heavily trafficked, and state troopers said it's very easy to veer across the center line, even while traveling at the posted speed limit of 55 mph.

That's what happened around 4 p.m. Tuesday, according to the state Highway Patrol. Williams was traveling slightly above the speed limit, about 60 to 65 mph, troopers said. They don't suspect that alcohol was a factor in the wreck.

The bus was coming from Waccamaw Elementary School in Ash, the same school Joshua and Gavin attended. The driver, Connie Russ, 61, of Ash, and the one student on the bus were not seriously injured. 

Relatives shocked after wreck that killed Brunswick family

For Beverly Faircloth, Joshua Williams' aunt, the shock of the tragedy is unbelievable.

"You don't want to believe it, you know? It's bad enough when one person passes away," she said.

Faircloth said her nephew and his family were "good people" and that they loved the outdoors. She said the young father doted on his two sons.

"He loved to fish. He liked to take them both fishing," Faircloth said. "Those boys were his sunrise and sunset."

Faircloth said she takes some comfort in knowing that in death, as in life, the Williams family is together.

Troopers are still investigating the cause of the crash. Grief counselors were at Waccamaw Elementary School Wednesday to help students cope with the loss of their two classmates, school officials said.

This is the second time in two weeks that tragedy has struck the school. David Purifoy, 14, an eighth-grade student, died Feb. 22. He was shot in a hunting accident, school officials said. 

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  • Rolling Along Mar 10, 2011

    @tar97heel

    There is always something bigger coming along. Size of vehicle doesn't guarantee a safe outcome of the crash. Defensive driving and being totally aware of what is going on around you does.

  • Skywatch_NC Mar 10, 2011

    What a precious family. Prayers and thoughts with their other family members and friends. Prayers and thoughts, too, with the school bus driver and the child that was aboard the bus.

  • pulstar40 Mar 10, 2011

    My condolences to the family - this is such a heartbreaking story. And a big hug to the bus driver, who will probably re-live this for the rest of her life.

  • tar97heel Mar 10, 2011

    "There is an epidemic of people driving over the center line on curves in North Carolina. I see it happening more and more.

    Thats a bunch of bull. Having the cops enforce that would do nothing. It was an accident and no "law" can prevent an accident from happening.
    27615
    March 10, 2011 8:55 a.m.
    "

    Well, both valid comments. Yes, it's an epidemic, but it's almost impossible to enforce. It likely comes down to distraction. Texting, especially. I watched the Time Warner Cable van veering down a 2-lane hill the other day at 60+, texting on top of the steering wheel. The solution is do what I do - drive a bigger car or SUV. At the end of the day, size is your only real defense against these "carefree" drivers

  • 27615 Mar 10, 2011

    There is an epidemic of people driving over the center line on curves in North Carolina. I see it happening more and more. There is no fear of getting a ticket for this, so everyone is starting to do it. I think the troopers are failing us miserably on this--stop sitting around running radar traps, and start watching the curves. The tires hit the double line and that's a ticket--you know it, start enforcing it before more deaths occur.

    Thats a bunch of bull. Having the cops enforce that would do nothing. It was an accident and no "law" can prevent an accident from happening.

  • nclifeisgood Mar 10, 2011

    I can't imagine what the relatives are going through right now. I have 3 boys, 2 of which are these boys ages. When I heard this story, my heart broke & I cried. We can say coulda, shoulda, woulda, but that doesn't help this family right now. My prayers go out to this family.

  • Rolling Along Mar 10, 2011

    Rebelyell,

    It isn't the NCSHP's job to obey the law only enforce it. If people would take responsibility to obey the law life would be much simpler.

    In this case someone did something wrong/illegal and paid for it with their life and the lives of their loved ones.

    "You can't legislate personal responsibility or morality."

  • Rebelyell Mar 9, 2011

    There is an epidemic of people driving over the center line on curves in North Carolina. I see it happening more and more. There is no fear of getting a ticket for this, so everyone is starting to do it. I think the troopers are failing us miserably on this--stop sitting around running radar traps, and start watching the curves. The tires hit the double line and that's a ticket--you know it, start enforcing it before more deaths occur.

  • emeraldangeleyes Mar 9, 2011

    so heartbreaking

  • sssh.. whisper Mar 9, 2011

    Very sad. Sending prayers to this family.