Local News

Plymouth Suffering in Devastating Aftermath of Deadly Wreck

Posted July 31, 1997 12:00 a.m. EDT

— A small, eastern North Carolina community is preparing for funerals and memorial services for 10 young people whose lives were cut short when one of them made a deadly mistake. The impact of an accident Wednesday is hitting home for young drivers and their parents.

The close-knit community of Plymouth is in mourning. Family, friends, schoolmates, even strangers, all devastated by a deadly crash, prayed and sought counseling at Plymouth High School in Washington County Thursday. The 10 students died when the driver of the Ford Explorer they were riding in tried to pass three vehicles on a slippery road. That risky move put them in the path of a tractor-trailer that demolished the Explorer, leaving everyone inside dead.

Shauna White took advantage of counseling services at the school. She said the hardest thing to deal with is that everyone knew everyone else at the school.

By Thursday, there were wreaths of flowers in the main hallway of the school. In an area restaurant, workers made red ribbons for customers to wear in memory of the teens. And, for reasons they couldn't explain, many were drawn to the crash site where they placed flowers in memory of the young victims. Albert Lewis was there. He said the whole situation just didn't seem real.

The entire community is grief stricken as most just try to cope with the loss. A local florist in Plymouth said he was hurrying to make arrangements for several funerals. Firefighters and other emergency workers who were at the accident scene Wednesday afternoon went through private de-briefings to help them cope with the results they witnessed of the violent deaths. Even strangers felt the impact that rippled through the tiny town, but there weren't many. It seemed everyone in town knew at least one of the 10 students.

A community-wide memorial service will probably be scheduled, but planners want to wait until individual services have been scheduled before they set a date and time.

Anyone wishing to express sympathy is asked to send donations to the Band Memorial Fund, Plymouth High School, P.O. Box 827, Plymouth, NC, 27962.