Local News

Lights in Clayton sky prompt calls

Emergency dispatchers were swamped with callers reporting mysterious lights in the sky over Clayton Tuesday evening.

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CLAYTON, N.C. — Emergency dispatchers were swamped with callers reporting mysterious lights in the sky over Clayton Tuesday evening.

The lights were part of a memorial service for 14-year-old Brandon Spense at McLaurin at Pinecrest Memorial Park. Family and friends released 80 sky lanterns – biodegradable, flame-retardant balloons that rise when heated – to commemorate his death. The lanterns float until they burn out.

"It was like we were sending love up to Brandon and it was kind of a way of us letting go, so that he could be at peace," his mother, Amy Spense said.

"I just never thought it would have prompted such a newsworthy event," she added.

Brandon died a year ago Tuesday, when his mini-bike collided with a pick-up truck on Highway 59 in McGee's Crossroads.

After they were released, Spense said, the lanterns made a heart shape in the sky.

"I just could never have imagined how pretty it really was. We have done a couple in the past, maybe 10 at a time, but the 80 was really gorgeous," she said.

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 Credits

Gerald Owens, Reporter
Robert Meikle, Photographer
Kathy Hanrahan, Web Editor

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