A 17-year-old Midway High School student was killed late Sunday afternoon when the bicycle he was riding alongside a roadway in northern Sampson was struck by a passing vehicle. An Autryville man has now been charged in what troopers called a “horrible” and “unfortunate” occurrence.
According to reports from N.C. Highway Patrol in Sampson, the deadly collision happened minutes before 8 p.m. on Baptist Chapel Road, about half a mile from Dunn Road, claiming the life of Jackson Glenn Barefoot, 17, of Old Wrench School Road, Godwin.
Barefoot was riding bikes with a friend when the collision occurred, Highway Patrol Sgt. S.F. Cotton said.
“They were in the lane with the flow of traffic, which is the law,” Cotton said. “They were also dressed in colorful clothes. It wasn’t nighttime and they weren’t wearing dark clothes.”
Cotton said Barefoot and his friend were traveling west at the time when a 1999 Chevy Monte Carlo being driven by Manley Carvelle Williams, 51, of Acorn Lane, Autryville, struck Barefoot from behind. It was also traveling west. Cotton said the vehicle, estimated to be traveling the posted limit of 55 mph, “failed to reduce speed” prior to colliding with the bicycle. She said the collision sent Barefoot 150 feet from the area of impact.
Debris from the bicycle struck the windshield of a 2002 Chevy Malibu traveling the opposite direction. That vehicle was being operated by Georgianna Sessoms Locklear, 55, of Hayes Smith Lane, Salemburg. Neither of the vehicles had passengers.
Williams was charged with misdemeanor death by motor vehicle, failure to reduce speed and driving while license revoked.
She said some witnesses commented on the bright setting sun, which could have factored heavily in the wreck. Cotton said, while alcohol and speed do not seem to be factors, inattention was a key reason for the wreck. She said visibility may have also factored heavily into the collision.
“The setting sun was really bright and blinding and that may have contributed to him not seeing them or not seeing them in time,” said Cotton, who said there were no tire marks in the roadway. “You still have to pay inattention, you just have to be more aware and more focused.”
Cotton offered her condolences to Barefoot’s family and sad it was just a devastating situation all around.
“It was horrible, just very sad,” Cotton continued. “It was a terrible wreck. Sometimes there’s no reason for why accidents like this happen.”
“He was just starting his life out,” Cotton said of Barefoot, “and was taken so young.”
Although out for summer break, Barefoot’s school paid tribute to the young scholar.
“MHS lost one of our own earlier tonight in a tragic accident,” a message posted by Midway High School’s twitter account late Sunday read. “Keep the family of Jackson Barefoot in your prayers. Jackson was a rising senior and a talented member of the Raider Band! He will be missed and will forever be a cherished member of the class of 2019! Rest easy.”