One youngster better, grandmother, 2nd child still in ICU

By Sherry Matthews Editor

February 9, 2014

A grandmother and her two grandchildren — one 6 years old, the other 3 — remained hospitalized Monday evening, three days after being seriously injured in a two-vehicle collision on N.C. 24 between Autryville and Roseboro.

N.C. Highway Patrol troopers said information they received from family members indicated that the 3-year-old, Aaron Watson, was improving and could go home sometime Tuesday; the other two — grandmother Stella Watson and 6-year-old Oscar Watson — remained in serious condition in the intensive care unit of an area medical center.

According to Trooper J.D. Duff, Watson, 65, of 6901 Old Mintz Hwy., Garland, was traveling west on N.C. 24, her two grandchildren in the back seat, when she crossed the center line in front of a tractor-trailer traveling east, continued running down the left shoulder of the road and then came back onto the roadway, striking the rear tires of the truck’s trailer.

“It knocked the tires off the truck,” Duff said.

The driver of the tractor-trailer, Michael Melton, 31, of Clinton was not injured but a passenger in his vehicle, Janet Holmes, also of Clinton, received minor injuries, the trooper pointed out.

Once the two children were removed from the vehicle, they were immediately airlifted to UNC Hospitals. Watson was first taken by ambulance to Cape Fear Regional Medical Center and then airlifted to UNC, Duff noted.

According to the trooper, Watson was not wearing a seat belt and neither of the children were in child restraint seats.

Charges are still pending.

The accident happened just after 1 p.m. Saturday west of Pumpkintown Road. Traffic was backed up along N.C. 24 for over an hour and eventually rerouted down Horseshoe Road as crews worked to first free the passengers and later to clear the roadway of debris from the accident.