A Clinton man whose wife was killed in a multi-vehicle wreck on U.S. 421 has now succumbed to his own severe injuries one week later, as their daughter still recovers, friends and family said.
Michael “Mike” Bass, 67, died Thursday morning after battling the effects of the Oct. 26 collision on U.S. 421 (Taylors Bridge Highway) that killed wife Vicki Bullard Bass, 67, instantly. A farmer by trade, Mike Bass was a longtime member of the Sampson County Board of Education and its chairman in 1990s. Vicki worked at Union Elementary School until her retirement.
They were traveling in a 2016 Honda Pilot — Mike behind the wheel, Vicki as front passenger and their daughter Kristy Bass, 46, in the back seat. The family was not far from their home, located on Taylors Bridge Highway, when the wreck occurred.
It happened at 4:40 p.m. Oct. 26 about 5.4 miles south of Clinton, roughly half a mile south of Beaman Woods Road.
The Pilot was traveling south on U.S. 421 when it traveled across the center line and struck a 2008 Ford Taurus being driven north by Rodney Jacob Lewis, 38, of Hobbton Highway, Clinton.
Highway Patrol Sgt. S.F. Cotton said it was a head-on collision, with the front left quarter panels of each vehicle colliding. Cotton said Lewis saw the Honda coming into his lane of travel and attempted to avoid the collision, veering to the right but was still hit. After the collision, the Ford ran off the right side of the roadway and struck a ditch. The Honda went out of control after impact and began to overturn in the road, when it sustained a second impact from a 2011 Buick Enclave being driven north by Melissa Robinson Bass, 34, of Reedsford Road, Clinton.
Vicki was pronounced dead at the scene. Mike and Kristy were airlifted to WakeMed, where Mike remained in critical condition — friends said his condition was “day to day” — while Kristy showed signs of improvement.
Neither Lewis nor Melissa Bass had passengers in their vehicles. Lewis was airlifted to New Hanover Regional Medical Center and Melissa Bass was transported by rescue personnel to Sampson Regional Medical Center to be treated for non-life-threatening injuries, according to reports.
Cotton has said it is unclear what actually caused the Honda to cross the center line. No speeding or impairment factored in the wreck, but inattention likely was a contributing factor.
“For some reason, it crossed the center line,” she stated. “We may not ever know why. We just feel sorry for everybody involved.“
Mike Bass is the 12th person claimed in highway deaths in Sampson this year , just a week after Vicki became the 11th.
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