Local News

Teen's grieving mom speaks out after fatal weekend Vance crash

Posted May 8, 2018 3:13 p.m. EDT
Updated July 13, 2018 11:13 a.m. EDT

— The mother of a teen who was critically hurt during a late-night, weekend crash in Vance County is speaking out even as the SUV driver who allegedly caused the crash remained jailed Tuesday without bond.

Stephanie Brown, the mother of Elijah Brown, who was three months shy of turning 18, told WRAL News that her son's organs will be donated because he is not expected to recover from the severe injuries he received during the May 4 crash. She said he could be declared dead, absent a major turn for the better, within 48 hours.

Ryan Taylor

"My baby was a lively person, and he has a lot of energy," she said. "And I can see that energy going into someone who’s sick, and them being revived to the point where they have that same level of energy and excitement for life."

Vance County crash

She said Elijah underwent brain surgery after he was flown to Duke University Hospital for treatment following the 1:30 a.m. crash on Raleigh Road. He has not opened his eyes since the accident, which occurred as the teens were returning from a night at the movies, she said.

"I have to accept the will of God for my child's life," Stephanie Brown said. "When he gets in the arms of Jesus he's going to get up there and start a basketball team."

Troopers arrested Ryan Taylor, 29, after the crash on suspicion he was under the influence. He faces charges of felony death by vehicle, felony hit and run, driving while impaired, careless and reckless driving, failure to reduce speed, open container of alcohol and a license restriction violation, and is being held in the Vance County Jail.

Roadside memorial for Vance victims

North Carolina State Highway Patrol Sgt. Christopher Knox said in a written statement that Taylor was suspected of driving while impaired by a controlled substance, but Knox did not identify the substance.

Investigators have said Taylor was headed eastbound on Raleigh Road in his Chevy Tahoe when it collided with a Honda Accord that had slowed to make a left turn into a private driveway. Authorities said Taylor ran from the scene on foot before he was caught and taken into custody.

Elijah was in the Accord with three teen girls, one of whom died after she was also flown to Duke for treatment. The teen girl died one day shy of her birthday. Authorities have not publicly identified her or disclosed the identities of the other two teen girls. Stephanie Brown said she has heard that those two are doing well.

Brown said she plans to follow the legal case against Taylor as it unfolds.

"I will make sure that when he’s in court, I will be there," she said. "I’m going to let him know that my child was a human being (that) did not deserve to be treated . . . the way that he was."