By Doug Clark
Three Sampson County residents lost their lives Saturday and in the wee hours of Sunday in different traffic accidents during what N.C. Highway Patrol officials are calling the deadliest weekend they’ve seen in this area in years.
The weekend fatalities come behind a deadly crash on N.C. 24 last week, which claimed the lives of two Roseboro sisters.
In all, five people have died on Sampson roadways since Monday, July 27.
“As far back as I can remember,” said N.C. Highway Patrol First Sgt. D.L. Hewitt, “this was the worst.”
On Saturday, Kelly Pope Strickland, 29, of 142 Blaze Lane, Clinton, was riding in a 2004 Ford Ranger with her husband, Neil, at about 2:30 p.m. on U.S. 421 North when the vehicle struck water, hydroplaned and slid into a Honda Accord, driven by Michelle Denise McLamb, 29, of 3668 Preacher Henry Road, Faison. The Accord also was carrying a 6-year-old passenger, whose name was not released.
Reports indicate that both vehicles were traveling at approximately 55 mph on impact. Kelly Strickland died at the scene, whil here husband was transported to Sampson Regional Medical Center. McLamb and her 6-year-old passenger were transported to Wilmington and Greenville, respectively.
Condition reports were not immediately available, however, Hewitt said that both passengers in the Accord were “critically injured.”
“After the accident, the truck rolled on top of the Honda,” he said.
Two other deaths occurred early Sunday morning. Because the next of kin had not been notified at press time, names were being withheld but details of the accidents were provided.
At 2:15 a.m., a vehicle, carrying two people, was headed east on Byrd-Yancey Bass Road, near Clinton, ran off the road and struck a tree. The tree broke in half on impact and fell on top of the passenger, killing him instantly.
At 3:30 a.m. Sunday morning, a Latino male in his early 20s was walking down Lassiter Road when he was struck by a car and killed instantly. The vehicle involved in the hit-and-run is said to be a possible Honda with damage to the left front quarter panel.
Investigations are still ongoing in all threes wrecks.
The five deaths last week bring the total of fatalities on Sampson County roadways to 15 this year. In all of 2008, there were just 18 deaths.
“It is tough,” said Hewitt. “It is our jobs, but when you have that many over a week’s time, it is really tough. It just goes back to what we talk about all the time: always obey the speed limits. Take your time to get where you need to be, even if you have to leave early and please, always drive for the other person.”
To reach Doug Clark call 910-592-8137 ext. 123 or send e-mail to email@example.com.