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Witness recalls Moore Co. wreck that killed child, injured four

Carthage resident Billy Barefoot heard the crunch of metal, then a frantic knock at the door. He opened it to find an injured man holding a dying child.

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CARTHAGE, N.C. — It was still early – not yet 7 a.m. Thursday – when Billy Barefoot heard the crunch of metal outside and a frantic knock on the door of his home on Star Ridge Road in Carthage

“It sounded like a plane crash,” he said. “I went to the front door. Somebody was pounding on it. I opened it up, and the guy handed me a 2-year-old baby.”

The man at the door was 19-year-old Sedrick Belk, who was driving a Chevrolet Equinox that had just run off the road and flipped. There were four children in the car, including the boy in his arms, Julius “Ju-Ju” Johnson.

“I stepped out on the porch, and I turned around and screamed to the wife, ‘There’s dying babies! Get out here!’” Barefoot recalled.

Sedrick Belk told Barefoot that the vehicle had blown a tire. He was just a mile away from Ju-Ju’s grandparents’ house, where the toddler was going to spend the day getting hugs from Nana and Papa.

But the crash brought him to Barefoot’s door.

“It stopped way over there,” Barefoot said, pointing to where the mangled vehicle had ground into the dirt. “It just rolled over and over and over, spitting out kids.”

Three medical helicopters were on the way.

Ju-Ju’s 4-year-old brother, Robert, was thrown out. His skull was cracked, and Barefoot’s daughter gave him CPR.

A sister, Jameeah Belk, 11, had blood streaming out of gashes in her head.

And there was Ju-Ju. He had a cut on his throat, and he didn’t make a sound.

“It wasn’t even bleeding,” Barefoot said. “He was just looking at me. I kept saying, ‘Little man, you’ll be all right.’”

But Ju-Ju died in the hospital from internal bleeding. Robert and Jameah remained in pediatric intensive care Friday morning.

The fourth child, Demarie Johnson, was unhurt.

Family members gathered at Nana’s house Friday morning to console each other.

“He was a bundle of joy,” said Ju-Ju’s aunt, LaToya Belk. “He will be greatly missed. Valentine’s Day will never be the same.”

She said the family is grateful that Demarie was spared from injury.

"He's walking around like nothing ever happened," she said. "It's amazing, you know, how he came home with nothing. And we thank God for that."

The State Highway Patrol is investigating the wreck, and no charges have been filed. Troopers said the vehicle had two booster seats but not the child-restraint seats required for toddlers.



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