Local News

Family Members, Students Witnessed Death of Clayton Child

Posted January 20, 1998 6:00 a.m. EST

— Investigators say a glaring sun may have contributed to an accident this morning that killed a 7-year-old Johnston County girl. The Highway Patrol says Jerdana Woodhouse was struck by a passing car as she stepped into the road near her bus stop.

Woodhouse, a student at East Clayton Elementary School, was checking the mail for her mother before crossing the street to the school bus stop. As she tried to hand off the mail to her mother, who was sitting inside her van, an oncoming car struck her.

The car that struck Woodhouse was driven by a 17-year-old Erin Grunau, a Clayton High School student. Trooper Jeff Gordon says Grunau appeared to be driving within the speed limit, and that the glare of the sun may have played a part in the accident.

The collision was witnessed by the girl's family, other school children, as well as a school bus driver, who warned oncoming cars of the incident.

Woodhouse died on the way to the hospital. Her father, William Woodhouse, says everything happened very fast.

As of 6 p.m. Wednesday, the accident was still under investigation, and no charges had been filed.

As for the Woodhouse family, William Woodhouse says they are just trying to cope.

At East Clayton Elementary School, students had access to counseling.