Relatives in shock over Brunswick family's death in wreck
Posted March 9, 2011 4:53 p.m. EST
Updated March 9, 2011 8:39 p.m. EST
Ash, N.C. — Nobody saw it coming. As the Williams family rounded a curve on Camp Branch Road near Supply Tuesday afternoon, they slammed head-on into a school bus, suddenly and tragically ending four lives in one calamitous instant.
Joshua Williams, 31, his wife Brandy, 30, and their two boys, Joshua, 9, and Gavin, 6, were all together in the family's Chrysler sedan on the winding, curvy two-lane road in rural Brunswick County about five miles from their home. The road is not heavily trafficked, and state troopers said it's very easy to veer across the center line, even while traveling at the posted speed limit of 55 mph.
That's what happened around 4 p.m. Tuesday, according to the state Highway Patrol. Williams was traveling slightly above the speed limit, about 60 to 65 mph, troopers said. They don't suspect that alcohol was a factor in the wreck.
The bus was coming from Waccamaw Elementary School in Ash, the same school Joshua and Gavin attended. The driver, Connie Russ, 61, of Ash, and the one student on the bus were not seriously injured.
For Beverly Faircloth, Joshua Williams' aunt, the shock of the tragedy is unbelievable.
"You don't want to believe it, you know? It's bad enough when one person passes away," she said.
Faircloth said her nephew and his family were "good people" and that they loved the outdoors. She said the young father doted on his two sons.
"He loved to fish. He liked to take them both fishing," Faircloth said. "Those boys were his sunrise and sunset."
Faircloth said she takes some comfort in knowing that in death, as in life, the Williams family is together.
Troopers are still investigating the cause of the crash. Grief counselors were at Waccamaw Elementary School Wednesday to help students cope with the loss of their two classmates, school officials said.
This is the second time in two weeks that tragedy has struck the school. David Purifoy, 14, an eighth-grade student, died Feb. 22. He was shot in a hunting accident, school officials said.