Local News

Family: 'Beautiful soul' killed in road rage crash

Posted October 24, 2008 3:56 p.m. EDT
Updated October 24, 2008 6:23 p.m. EDT

— Family members remembered an 18-year-old Brunswick County woman as a "beautiful soul" Friday, one day after she died in a crash involving road rage.

Kristi Riggins, of Supply, was a passenger in a sport utility vehicle carrying four people that crashed on U.S. Highway 15/501 in Sanford around 6 p.m. Thursday.

Authorities charged Gregory Starvick, 52, of Pinehurst, with involuntary manslaughter in connection with the wreck. He was driving a pickup truck.

Parties in both vehicles made gestures toward each other, according to highway patrol.

Timothy Fox, 18, was driving the SUV and said he and his friends did nothing to provoke Starvick.

According to Fox, he turned on to Highway 15/501 and Starvick came upon him quickly. The two vehicles barely avoided a crash, he said. Miles down the road, according to Fox, Starvick appeared again.

Fox said he knew something was wrong when he saw Starvick's face.

"(He was making) a mad face," Fox said. "When you get mad at somebody, you show your teeth and you grin like that, and he was (mouthing) stuff, but I couldn't make it out."

Starvick is accused of swerving his pickup truck into another lane. The swerving caused Fox to swerve his SUV. Both vehicles veered off the road but did not touch, officials said. Fox over-corrected, and his SUV overturned.

"All I could hear was, like, the glass shattering, and the Bronco hitting the ground and metal crushing," Fox said.

The wreck threw two passengers from the vehicle. One of those passengers, Riggins, died, authorities said.

Two other SUV passengers – Christopher Garcia, 17, of Lillington, and Matia McCauley, 17, of Sanford – were taken by helicopter to UNC Hospitals.

Garcia, who was Riggins' boyfriend, was in a medically-induced coma in serious condition. McCauley, who was nearly nine months pregnant, was in fair condition. Friends say her baby is expected to survive.

"(McCauley) was crying, saying 'Oh my God! I hope my baby's OK,'" Fox said.

Fox was treated at the Central Carolina Hospital in Lee County and released.

The official cause of the crash was over-steering and inattention to the road, the highway patrol said.

"(Riggins) was 18 years old, and she had no right to be killed, all because some guy had an anger problem," Fox said.

Attempts to reach Starvick were unsuccessful.

Riggins' grandparents released a statement Friday saying that she "had the most beautiful soul that anyone has ever encountered."

"Kristi's spirit will brightly shine in the hearts of everyone who loved her. Her smile will always remind us of all the love she gave us, and that smile we will see again. Until then, she will live as the angel we always knew she was, to lead, guide, and protect all who she loved," they wrote.