Local News

Three Teens Killed in Nash County Wreck

Posted September 10, 1997 12:00 a.m. EDT

— Three teenage girls are dead and another is hospitalized after their car struck a tractor-trailer on a rain-soaked bridge in Nash County.

The accident happened Tuesday afternoon on US Highway 64 in Nash County, and left many wondering why a 15-year-old was even behind the wheel.

Killed in the wreck were Winifred Willa Midgette, 15, who was driving the car, Ladtra Smiley, 16, and Patricia Wade, 13. A passenger, 18-year old Denise Pettaway remains at Nash General Hospital. Her condition was last listed as stable.

Troopers say the car was apparently traveling at about 65 mph, which is within limits for that area, but would be unsafe in rainy conditions. There were two other vehicles involved, but no other injuries reported.

It is legal to drive in North Carolina at age 15, but the law stipulates that a driver that age must be accompanied by a parent or a legal guardian. The existing law is about to change for younger drivers. Legislators and many others hope to see fewer tragedies of this nature with the new laws in effect.

NC DMV official Wayne Hurder says the new law should make a big difference.

Many are wondering if the young driver's lack of experience on the slippery road might be a contributing factor in the accident.

Photographer:Bill Jensen