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Funeral planned for former NC State standout

Posted June 29, 2011
Updated June 30, 2011

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— A funeral will be held Saturday for former North Carolina State University basketball player Lorenzo Charles, who was killed in a tour bus wreck on Monday. 

Visitation will be held at 10 a.m. at Wake Chapel Church, 3805 Tarheel Club Road. Funeral services will follow at 11 a.m. WRAL.com will stream video of the service live online.

Charles was driving for Elite Tour of Apex when he swerved off Interstate 40 near the N.C. Highway 54 interchange.

In a wreck report released Wednesday, authorities said the bus was going 70 mph – five miles above the speed limit – before the wreck. It traveled 383 feet through the grass shoulder across the on-ramp from eastbound Chapel Hill Road and into the wooded area next to the on-ramp.

The vehicle struck several trees and was redirected back towards the highway where it came to rest.

The bus sustained heavy damage to its front end, and Charles, 47, was pronounced dead at the scene. He wasn't wearing a seat belt, according to the police report.

No other vehicles were involved in the wreck, and no passengers were on the bus at the time.

Charles honored at awards ceremony Charles honored at awards ceremony

Charles thrust the game-winning dunk into the hoop at the 1983 NCAA men’s basketball championship game and secured his spot in sports history.

On Wednesday, Charles was honored at the James A. Naismith Sportsmanship Award ceremony at the Raleigh Memorial Auditorium.

"In 1983, he was in the right place at the right time, and the other afternoon he was in the wrong place at the wrong time, I guess," former N.C State player Tommy Burleson said. "It just hurts us as a team family to lose somebody like that tragically." 

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  • Wendellcatlover Jul 1, 2011

    I must admit when I 1st heard this news, I thought it must have been a medical problem that caused Lorenzo to go off the road and into the trees, but who knows??? All I know is that a true NC State basketball legend is gone forever. You will be missed Lorenzo...Give Jimmy V a big hug for me!!!

  • wewoods Jun 30, 2011

    We retired his number...

    So why don't we have the same celebration(s) for all the other numbers?

    ...WHILE they're still alive??? is my question. Why just in death?

  • Gerbil Herder Jun 30, 2011

    "Why, though, did we not tell him how much he meant to us while he was still alive?"
    We did; we retired his number.

  • ObamaMustGo aka NCcarguy Jun 30, 2011

    RIP Zo! Not many events affect me like this guys passing has. He was a genuinly good guy! AND...he provided maybe the final touch on the most amazing sports story ever. You really don't have to be a Wolfpack fan to appreciate how that all happened, and I think it was his development that made the team good enough to make that run, and his alertness sealed the deal.

  • wewoods Jun 30, 2011

    My thoughts are with his family during this most difficult time.

    I see how NC State is planning to honor him, tell everyone how great he was. Why, though, did we not tell him how much he meant to us while he was still alive?

    Why does it take death for all of us to come together? Why can't we do it for life?

  • traumamama Jun 30, 2011

    There are multiple medical emergencies that can cause sudden death. Generally they are not determined unless an autopsy is performed. Cerebral aneurysm, massive blood clots, and heart issues whether it is a heart attack, irregularities with heart beat, etc. It is important information to know for the children or siblings of the victim since most are hereditary.

  • rayzer Jun 30, 2011

    Don't know if this has been pointed out before or not, but Jim Valvano was also 47 when he died. RIP my heroes.

  • jcd241959 Jun 30, 2011

    Prayers for the family. He was a formidable player on the BB court. Sorry for your loss.

  • Stormy13 Jun 30, 2011

    A medical exam doesn't pick-up everything. People have been known to keel over dead a day or so after a "clean bill of health exam", there were probably medical issues here that went undetected. My prayers go out to his family and also to his "Wolfpack Family". Sure hope LC and JV are having a wonderful reunion!

  • were you offended Jun 30, 2011

    "Why are sooo many people saying heart attack...heart attack...heart attack? "

    the autopsy results should be known soon which should answer this and some other questions such as to toxicology results

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