Local News

Vigil honors four killed in fiery Sanford crash

Posted January 14, 2013

— Friends and family gathered for a vigil Monday for four people who died when their car crashed into a house east of Sanford early Saturday and caught fire.

According to the State Highway Patrol, Aaron David Powers, 31, of Sanford, Katherine May Powers, 35, of Sanford, Christopher Gray Baker, 33, of Broadway, and Rebecca Lynn Powell, 38, of Chapin, S.C., died in the wreck in the 600 block of Swanns Station Road, near Dixie Farm Road, around 2:30 a.m.

Aaron and Kathy Powers had been married for seven years and had three children, relatives said Saturday. Baker and Powell had been dating for a few months and friends described them as loving and kind. 

Powell leaves behind two children and Baker leaves behind one.

Troopers said Aaron Powers was driving a 2006 Dodge Charger at least 90 mph when it ran off the left side of the road and hit a mailbox and trees. It then overturned several times, crashed into the house and burst into flames.

Authorities said that the bodies were burnt so badly that the medical examiner might not be able to perform toxicology tests. None of the passengers were wearing seat belts.

Sanford crash vigil Vigil honors four killed in fiery Sanford crash

The house was vacant.

The vigil was held Monday evening at a boat ramp off Avents Ferry Road in Chatham County, close to the Lee County line, a place where friends say the couples often hung out.

"This is a spot that they loved, a familiar spot," said Kaye Johnson, a longtime friend of Kathy Powers.

She said the couple and their children were a "strong family unit" and that she's going to miss everything about her friend.

"Kathy and Aaron, I've never seen two people love each other more," said Brandy Garner, a friend of the couples. "They'd give you everything. They'd give you the shirt off their back. They'd give you their last dime, and that's how I want them remembered, not as the people of the fatal car crash or that were speeding. I want them remembered as somebody's loved ones, somebody's friends."


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  • passport423 Jan 16, 2013

    very nice post, sarahclair63. You have a good heart.

  • scarlett2 Jan 16, 2013

    May God bring peace to these families. What a terrible tragedy. For those being vicious about this accident, just remember one thing...sometimes you get a chance in life to learn from your dumb mistakes, sometimes you don't. We have all, at one time or another, done something so incredibly stupid that could have resulted in our, or someone else's death. Don't forget that. None of us are perfect and we will all continue to make wrong decisions.

  • sarahclair63 Jan 16, 2013

    (continued) Even if these people were drinking, speeding, made poor decisions in light of the weather conditions, or had lapses in judgement regarding the effects of their actions on their children, do they warrant a death sentence for that? When I hear such cruelty from people I can't help but to pity them for truly their words are a reflection of their own bitterness and misery. Jesus said, "Let him who is without sin cast the first stone." Even if you are not a Christian, this statement has meaning because none of us are without guilt. We should all have the ability to look at this situation with empathy and compassion, and realize that even if they DID sin, they are worthy of forgiveness, as we ALL desire forgiveness and second chances. Realize THAT, and instead of being so horrible offer your sympathy and support. Who do you think you are? Where did you earn the right to be judge, jury, and executioner. I pity you even more than Kathy and the others who died.

  • sarahclair63 Jan 16, 2013

    It breaks my heart to know that people in a small town in the South are just as heartless as the people in the small town in the North where I live. Why must you be so vicious? I just met Kathy and there is every indication that she was a dear woman, a loving wife and a nurturing mother. Based on the idea that 'birds of a feather flock together,' and from all accounts of the other people killed in this accident, they were all decent people. NO ONE deserves to die in an accident like this, in the prime of their lives, leaving behind children and parents and brothers and siblings and neighbors and coworkers who loved, needed, and will miss and mourn them and grieve for the rest of their lives. Whether they were enjoying a night out with friends and had a few drinks while their children were safe at home, probably with a grandparent or a trusted family member, does not matter. None of you are above sin, and in the same way you judge others, you will be judged. (continued)

  • zariez12 Jan 16, 2013

    Well the roads will be a little safer now. I live in the area the crash happened, and it is just ridiculousness how fast people drive! The person driving this car was SELFISH and had no concern for the lives in the car or the people who he shares the road with or houses in the area.

  • GravyPig Jan 15, 2013

    Btneast, you are wasting your words. Anything other than sympathy is being taken as an attack on those who perished. Most people have an ingrained need to explain things. People in mourning have no need for that, especially if it paints their loved ones on a poor light or even suggests that they may have done something wrong. Honestly, anyone who knows the GOLO forums should know better than to expect sunshine and happiness from it's residents.

    That being said, my heart goes out to all who knew these folks. It's a shame no matter what the cause was.

  • passport423 Jan 15, 2013

    @IPayYouPay, Judge much? It's easy to say things like that when you are an anonymous poster. Lot's of good parents get babysitters and go out on the weekend. Shame on you for being such a judgemental person.

  • IPayYouPay Jan 15, 2013

    Something wrong with their car? What's wrong with being at home with your children snug in their bed while you're snug in yours at 2:30 a.m. Once my husband and I started having children, they were our happiness and took them everywhere with us, and at home at 2:30 in the morning. Snide remarks? Just reality. I'm sure they were loved and did love; however, that doesn't make them smart and their children have no parents now. Shame.

  • passport423 Jan 15, 2013

    "Come on, just switch rhe car off.....you actually hear this "recording" , or did some one tell you about it?"

    I actually heard the recording. Go to youtube and you can find it too. Search on 911 call stuck accelerator. The driver/caller was a highway patrol officer. The 911 operator advises him to turn off the car but he wrecked before he could do it.

  • Ven Jan 15, 2013

    lmookie, jfrye3 and other friends, I don't think anyone is wishing anything 'bad' upon your friends. If this accident had happened at 1:30pm on Sunday afternoon while they were leaving church, the comments might suggest something less ‘hurtful’. But this board is fairly consistent in being judgmental, especially given some of the ‘facts’ that have been shared.
    Regardless of what they were doing at that time of night or where they had been, it doesn’t make them ‘bad people’, maybe they made poor decisions. But I say this to you – the next time you read a story on here about any other tragedy, please reflect on this one and show the same respect as you wish others to show.