Local News

Soldier Charged in Death of Girl, 9, in Funeral Procession

Posted March 15, 2008 1:38 p.m. EDT
Updated March 16, 2008 11:25 a.m. EDT

— A soldier faces charges in a Hoke County accident that killed a a 9-year-old girl who was riding in her grandmother's funeral procession and injured 13 others.

The Highway Patrol said David Deming, 32, had just graduated from sniper school at Fort Bragg and was driving to his Colorado home on Friday when his truck went across the center line on Aberdeen Road and side-swiped two limousines in the procession. Deming was reaching for a Mountain Dew soda at the time, troopers said.

Cheyenne Thomas, 9, of Ash in Brunswick County, was riding in the second limo and died from injuries sustained in the crash, troopers said.

The collision overturned the limousines, which had been headed toward Clinton. Deming’s truck also ran head-on into another truck that was behind the limos.

Deming was treated at a hospital and released, and troopers charged him with misdemeanor death by vehicle and driving left of center. Alcohol was not a factor, they said.

“I thought we were the only ones who had gotten hit, but my brother, Michael, came running and screaming, 'Cheyenne's gone, Cheyenne's gone,'” crash victim Lynn Jackson said.

Richard Thomas, who was also in the second limo, was flown to UNC Hospitals, where he was listed in critical condition Saturday night.

“You think this is something to happen to somebody else and it doesn't happen to your family, but it can,” Jackson said.

Jackson said it is hard to believe she has now lost her niece and her mother, Freedonia Horne, to whose funeral they were traveling.

“My mother has yet to be buried. We have another funeral we're going to have to go to," she said.

Jackson said she knows accidents happen and is not angry at Deming.