Local News

Roseboro students don camouflage to honor dead classmate

Posted November 19, 2012 4:54 p.m. EST
Updated November 19, 2012 6:33 p.m. EST

— To honor a classmate killed Friday night in a crash in rural Sampson County, students at Lakewood High School in Roseboro had camouflage shirts, pants and backpacks Monday.

Ronald Lucas, 16, died when the Jeep he was riding in ran off Mintz Road near N.C. Highway 411, south of Roseboro, authorities said. The Jeep hit a ditch, slammed into a tree and overturned.

Lucas, who was sitting in the back seat, wasn't wearing a seat belt and was thrown from the vehicle.

"We have a very small school. We're rural Sampson County, and unlike other places, we're a very tight-knit community," said John Fortner, the agricultural teacher at Lakewood High.

A white bow was tied to the school flagpole, a banner with messages from students to Lucas hung in the school cafeteria, and camouflage was everywhere.

"All the students got together and informed us that they wanted to do something for Ronald. They came up with 'Camo Monday,'" Fortner said.

Camouflage was typical for Lucas, a sophomore.

"Ronald was always outside. He was always fishing (or) hunting with his friends," Fortner said, adding that Lucas was a member of the school's Future Farmers of America group.

"When you met Ronald, you never forgot him. He made his mark (and was) always very respectful," he said.

Three other teens were in the Jeep when it crashed. Allison Helms, 18, was listed in good condition at UNC Hospitals, and Johnathan Herring, 18, was released from the hospital Monday.

The driver, Bethany Pilkington, 18, was treated at Sampson Regional Hospital on Friday night and released. The North Carolina State Highway Patrol said charges are pending against her.