Local News

Smithfield Student Injured In Crash Happy To Be Home

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JOHNSTON COUNTY, N.C. — March 30, 2000

When a van crashed into a group of students at Smithfield Middle School last Wednesday, one student was killed and several others were injured.

Antwon Patterson, 11, is recovering from his internal injuries so well, doctors at Johnston Memorial Hospital sent him home Wednesday night.

Under the watchful eye of his mother, he says he is glad to be home.

"I get to know that my mom is right in the house instead of going through the hospital," says Antwon.

The boy was critically injured in the accident. For now, he is spending most of his time in bed. His room is filled with cards and balloons from teachers and friends at Smithfield Middle School.

He says he is grateful that so many people are praying for his recovery.

"They help me by letting me know that they do care. Because before all that happened, I never thought anybody cared," says Antwon.

Antwon's mother is nursing him back to health. One of the things he is looking forward to is her home cooking.

Janice Patterson is staying close to Antwon's side, with a new appreciation for her only son -- a boy who almost died in last week's tragedy.

"That morning, all I can remember saying is 'Do you have your keys?' That's it, you know. I know if anything worse would have happened, I would have wished I had said I loved him one more time," says Patterson. "So now, I tell him every minute of the day, no matter what room of the house I'm in, 'I love you.'"

Patterson says it is tough for her son to talk about the accident, which makes him depressed.

Two boys hurt in the accident remain at UNC Hospitals. Blake Creech is listed in good condition; Kenneth Frazier is in critical condition.

The District Attorney's office is waiting for the police report before deciding whether the driver of the runaway van should face charges.

Reporter/Photographer: Brian Bowman


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