Local News

Vigil remembers Zebulon mother killed in Memorial Day wreck

Posted June 1, 2016 9:54 p.m. EDT
Updated June 1, 2016 10:37 p.m. EDT

— A vigil was held Wednesday night to remember a mother killed in a crash on Memorial Day and share prayers for the man charged in connection with the wreck.

Those who knew Judy Claybourne are still working through their grief. The emotion was so raw for her husband, he could hardly speak about her or what happened.

The Claybournes and their daughter, Ameerah, were headed home to Zebulon on U.S. Highway 64 after spending a long weekend visiting relatives in Philadelphia. Darryl Claybourne and his wife had just switched positions so that she was driving, and Judy Claybourne pulled back onto the road in front of a car driven by Erik Christian Hicks. Hicks ran into the rear of their Pontiac, forcing the van off the highway and into a nearby wooded area, where it overturned.

Judy Claybourne was pronounced dead at the scene and her husband and daughter were seriously injured.

Judy Claybourne’s sister, Wanda Jones, said Ameerah is still in the hospital recovering and has been told about the loss of her mother.

“Only time will tell. She is in the hospital under sedation,” Jones said. “I just thank God he spared her life.”

Members of Ameerah’s East Wake High School basketball team were among the crowd at the vigil.

Pastors offered prayers for the Claybourne family as well as Hicks, who authorities said looked at a text message just before the collision.

“Cherish one another and love on one another, because life is beautiful and life is short,” said Pastor Irene Jones.

Family members hope to have Claybourne taken to the Philadelphia area, where many of her family members are from, for burial.

Hicks has been charged with texting while driving and failure to wear a seatbelt. Authorities said he could face more serious charges once a full report is turned over to the Wake County District Attorney.