Local News

Chapel Hill High football player killed in hit-and-run

Posted November 16, 2008 11:56 a.m. EST
Updated November 17, 2008 2:47 p.m. EST

— A senior football player for Chapel Hill High School was killed in a hit-and-run wreck early Sunday, the state Highway Patrol said.

Rodney Torain, 17, of Chapel Hill, died when a sedan struck a car that he was riding in at Old Greensboro and Neville roads, west of Chapel Hill, around 4 a.m., Trooper T.S. Wright said.

The driver, Ashley Bynum, 18, and a passenger, Laticia Farrington, 17 – both of Chapel Hill – said they were taking Torain home when they noticed that another car, occupied by several men, was following them closely.

Frightened by it, Bynum turned around to go back to town, Wright said. The car following them, however, tried to pass in a no-passing zone, Wright said. Torain's car was side-swiped and went off the right hand side of the road.

Bynum over-corrected and ran off the left side of the road, where the vehicle hit a tree in front of a private driveway, Wright said.

Torain suffered a head injury and died. Bynum and Farrington were treated at a hospital for minor injuries.

Troopers were looking for a gold or silver, four-door sedan. It has side-swipe damage on the passenger side. Anyone with tips about the wreck is asked to call 336-570-6809.

Wright said that Torain was not wearing a seat belt; Bynum and Farrington were buckled up. The teens had not been drinking, he said.

"Rodney was a funny person. He always had jokes to make you laugh (and) never had a frown on his face,” friend Tony Green said.

Torain played as a defensive tackle with jersey number 80. He scored a touchdown in his last home game, a 48-20 victory over Jordan High Nov. 7. The team ended the season 8-4 and as co-champions of the Pac-6.

Torain was the second Chapel Hill football player to die this year. Senior Atlas Fraley, 17, died of unknown causes hours after a football scrimmage Aug. 12.

At a game honoring Fraley in late August, Torain told WRAL News that he and Fraley were as close as brothers and they had been best friends since elementary school.

"Atlas was the type of person that brought out the best in everybody. If you were going through something, you could talk to him. You could count on him,” Torain said about Fraley at that August game.

A Facebook group, "R.I.P. Rodney </3," called Torain a "sweet, gentle soul." The group had over 80 members shortly after noon and was quickly gaining more.

A picture posted on the group showed Torain and Fraley as angels. It said "R.I.P. 2 Brothers: Forever loved and cherished."

The Chapel Hill High football team met at least two times on Sunday. Counselors were available to them and will be on hand for all students Monday.

Chapel Hill High football coach Issac Marsh told WRAL Sunday evening that all anyone can do is “pray and try to stay strong for each other.”