Local News

South Johnston High student dies after collision

Posted April 28, 2010 11:59 a.m. EDT
Updated April 29, 2010 1:55 p.m. EDT

— A South Johnston High School sophomore died Wednesday afternoon following a collision with a classmate while they were on their way to school, school officials said.

Jesse Ferrell, 16, died at WakeMed from injuries suffered in the 7:40 a.m. wreck near the intersection of Hanna Creek and Allens Crossroad roads.

The other student, Jordan Stikeleather, 16, was treated at WakeMed and released, officials said.

Trooper R.W. Murphy of the state Highway Patrol said both teens were northbound on Hanna Creek Road when Stikeleather passed a car. Ferrell then tried to pass both vehicles and lost control of his Chevrolet pickup.

Ferrell's pickup ran off the left side of the road, and he over-corrected, Murphy said. The pickup then sideswiped Stikeleather's Ford pickup, and both vehicles went off the road into a ditch.

Neither teen was wearing a seat belt, and Ferrell was thrown from his truck, Murphy said. Stikeleather's truck then ran over Ferrell.

“It happened so quick,” South Johnston High senior Michelle Barefoot said.

Barefoot said she witnessed the crash in her car’s rear-view mirror.

“I could have reached out and touched Jordan’s truck,” she said. “All I could see was his truck tires just flipping and dust flew up.”

Each student was alone in his pickup at the time of the wreck, and no one else was injured.

Kendall Parker, an agriculture teacher and adviser to the school's Future Farmers of America club, called Ferrell polite, well-mannered and outgoing.

"He had a great sense of humor with a positive outlook on life. He has been a leader among his peers and in FFA. Jesse enjoyed painting and welding agriculture equipment," Parker said in a statement.

In addition to FFA, Ferrell was a member of the junior varsity football team and a cheerleader.

“He was just a down to earth kind of guy that everybody really liked,” South Johnston High sophomore Grace Ann Carroll said.

Grief counselors will be available at South Johnston High, starting Thursday morning, to assist students and staff, school officials said.

Friends also plan to gather at Ferrell’s school parking spot to pay tribute to their friend.

“I’ve grown up with him since kindergarten,” South Johnston High sophomore Tyler Barefoot said. “I love that boy. He was one of my good friends. You just can't replace a good friend. He was one of a kind.”