Funeral Fund Established For Family Who Lost Five In Crash

A Craven County family that lost five members in a weekend automobile accident is struggling with funeral costs.

Killed in the crash on Sunday were 23-year-old Maria Gonzalez, 24-year-old Abdiel Salis, 2-year-old Adyelis Salgonzalez, 6-year-old Alexander Gomez and 2-month-old Abdiel Salis Jr.

The family says Gonzalez and Salis were the parents of the two younger children and were planning to be married next month. Gomez was Gonzalez's son.

The Bridge, a community ministry of the Cherry Point Baptist Church has set up a fund for those wanting to help with expenses. The family has until Friday to raise the necessary expenses for the funerals.

If you would like to help you can either mail or drop off donations to the Cherry Point Baptist Church, 210 Church Rd, Havelock, NC 28532. Their mailing address is P. O. Box 555, Havelock, NC 28532. Checks should be made payable to the Cherry Point Baptist Church with “Gonzalez funeral expenses” in the note line.

The church also has a drop box in the church office door.


Previous Story

Three children and two adults were killed Sunday when a sport utility vehicle overturned on a national forest road near coastal North Carolina and sank in a canal, officials said.

The crash happened between 5:30 p.m. and 6 p.m. in the Croatan National Forest north of Camp Lejeune. Tire marks on the gravel road indicate that speed was likely a factor and that the fatal storms that killed at least 21 in the state did not appear to play a role, said Highway Patrol Trooper R.A. Woods.

Officials have released the identities of the victims. Killed in the crash were 23-year-old Maria Gonzalez, 24-year-old Abdiel Salis, 2-year-old Adyelis Salgonzalez, 6-year-old Alexander Gomez and 2-month-old Abdiel Salis Jr.

Officials say Gonzalez was driving the car, and that Salis was her boyfriend. Gonzalez and Salis were the parents of the two younger children and were planning to be married next month. Gomez was Gonzalez's son. Lawmen report they all lived together in Havelock and drowning was the cause of death.

Maria's mother Joann Hernandez says her daughter was a wonderful person and a good mother.

She says she can't believe they're all gone. "They loved each other, he was a good father he was the best thing that came into her life. He took good care of those kids and he treated the oldest one like he was his own son he was a good man."

Maria's mother believes they were heading to church for a palm sunday service in Jacksonville, but says she didn't know why they were on Catfish Lake Road.

Family members say they hope that this tragedy sheds light on how dangerous this gravel road is.

Maria's mother Joann Hernandez says her daughter was a wonderful person and a good mother.
She says she can't believe they're all gone. "They loved each other, he was a good father he was the best thing that came into her life. He took good care of those kids and he treated the oldest one like he was his own son he was a good man."

Maria's mother believes they were heading to church for a palm sunday service in Jacksonville, but says she didn't know why they were on Catfish Lake Road.

Family members say they hope that this tragedy sheds light on how dangerous this gravel road is.

On March 19, 2010, the II Marine Expeditionary Force and Marine Corps Installations East issued a joint order, prohibited Marines from driving on Catfish Lake Rd. The reason for the order is an "effort to reduce the potential for vehicle-related fatalities, injuries and property damage," according to a press release on the website for Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point. The limited use policy allows personnel to use the road if they have a legitimate reason for being on it, such as hunting or fishing in the forest.

The limited use policy was issued after a Cherry Point weather forecaster was injured in a wreck on Catfish Lake Rd. two months earlier. "You could be the greatest driver in the world, but it just takes one second and you could lose your life," said Cpl. Darien J. Garland.


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North Carolina Highway Patrol Trooper R.A. Woods said a sports utility vehicle ran off of an isolated dirt road into a canal about 6 p.m. Sunday. The car landed on its roof under several feet of water.

Officials hadn't identified the victims and Woods did not immediately know if all were related. He said the infants - a boy and a girl - were found still strapped in their child seats when the SUV was pulled from the water. It had been upside down, almost completely submerged and drowning appeared to be the cause of death, he said.

Besides the infants, an adolescent boy and a man and a woman were found in the SUV, Woods said. The woman, who was in the driver's seat, was still wearing a seat belt; the man was not.

Woods said it was possible the man died trying to get the woman and children out of the SUV after the crash.

Craven County Sheriff's officials say the vehicle was registered to a resident of Havelock.

Craven County officials had been in the area earlier in the day, hours before the wreck, assessing damage from the raging storms that whipped across North Carolina Saturday, said Stanley Kite, the county's emergency management chief.

"It is awful," Kite said.

Croatan National Forest consists of roughly 160,000 acres of bogs, salt water estuaries and pine forests and is located approximately in the middle of North Carolina's Atlantic coastline. A call late Sunday to the forest's ranger station was not immediately returned.

"That's a very isolated road," Kite said. "There've been several deaths as a result of people running off it."

News of the crash was particularly devastating because Craven County had escaped the weekend's rampaging storms with no deaths and only a handful of relatively minor injuries. Several dozen homes were damaged, including a number in a subdivision that were destroyed, Kite said.

"As far as I'm concerned, we got very lucky there weren't any deaths, considering the way some of those homes looked," he said.



Previous Story:

North Carolina officials say five people including two infants and another child were killed when a sport utility vehicle overturned on a national forest road and sank in a canal.

Highway Patrol Trooper R.A. Woods says the crash happened Sunday evening in the Croatan National Forest north of Camp Lejeune. He says speed was likely a factor and that the fatal storms that killed at least 21 in the state did not appear to be a factor.

Woods says officials hadn't identified the victims and he did not immediately know if all were related. He said the infants, a boy and a girl, were found still strapped in their child seats when the SUV was pulled from the water along a gravel road.



Previous Story:
The Highway Patrol says two adults and three children were found in a car submerged in a canal off Catfish Lake Road in Craven County, and all five are dead.

The Highway Patrol says the car was speeding, flipped, and landed upside down in the canal.

Emergency crews responded to the incident late Sunday and the scene was cleared by 9:00 p.m.


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