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.


Previous Story:

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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Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by rattling teeth Location: enc on Apr 21, 2011 at 06:50 PM
    Traveled the length of Catfish lake Road about five months back from north to south. It was beating my car hard if I started going too fast. Since I am very much in favor of keeping Croatan as pristine as fesible, was loving it. Between all the dust and the bumpy road, don't know why people would want to use it as a shortcut. Yet, folks would come up behind me fast and pass like I was hardly moving. No wonder people are loosing control of vehicles on that road. It's one of the few large, open, public recreation areas we have left around here. Did enjoy the ride through Croatan though. It's a densely populated rat race in the city where I live.
  • by unknown Location: unknown on Apr 21, 2011 at 03:24 PM
    This is a terrible time for the family and I am really sorry for there loss. God Bless all.
  • by ss Location: enc on Apr 21, 2011 at 01:23 PM
    Sorry to hear about the tragedy. MY husband travels those roads during hunting season. I know how those roads are, and they havent changed in over 20 years. If you are going to travel on a gravel road then you know you can NOT speed. I think that going 45 mph is to fast on that road. You want a sign posted on the road, it should read "Travel at your own risk" only because there are plenty of other ways to get around it!
  • by For Location: ENC on Apr 19, 2011 at 11:07 AM
    Sad story. She didn't have enough experience on that type of unpaved roadway. I'm guessing that she had driven on it before, just a guess. With enough experience, a person knows to slow down for conditions. Very sad.
  • by Ryan Location: Havelock on Apr 19, 2011 at 09:06 AM
    You pay CFR and you will have more deaths annually on that road than you currently do. That road is the crossing for bears, deer and other wildlife... you add in more traffic because of a paved road and you are going to have a lot more collisions or people ending up in canals trying to avoid the animals. That is a National Forest road, not a short cut, treat it as such!
  • by Rick on Apr 18, 2011 at 05:40 PM
    two year old Shawn Hernandez was found submerged in the canal.
  • by James Location: New Bern on Apr 18, 2011 at 04:49 PM
    I am hearing that there were four kids in that vehicle. A 6 year old, a 4-month old, and twin 2 year olds. Has anyone else heard this???
    • reply
      by Anonymous on Apr 19, 2011 at 09:42 AM in reply to James
      i am close with this family and she was 23 her boy friend was 24 the oldest child was 6 then girl 1.5ys and the baby boy 4 mo.
    • reply
      by paradiswess on Apr 19, 2011 at 09:55 AM in reply to James
      yes i heard it shows pics
  • by Anonymous on Apr 18, 2011 at 12:50 PM
    Already, our national forests and especially the national parks are being overused. As the population of the US and world increase, the problem will become more acute. Many parks are having to limit the number of visitors allowed to enter. Some have long waiting lists. In my 59 years, have watched the steady deterioation of Croatan Forest. Some people use it as a trash dump. Monies for maintenance have to be diverted to clean up behind the low life individuals that dump their trash in Croatan Forest. If we do not help the Forest Service in their efforts to manage and maintain the resource, it will futher decline and more locked gates will go up futher restricting public access to Croatan Forest. Bisecting the national forest with a high speed through road will make the problems worse. Use the ample surrounding paved roads for travel and allow Croatan Forest to remain as a recreation area open to the public with unrestricted access. Federal funds for maintaining Croatan Forest have been sharply cut. It is more inportant than ever that we help take care of this unique resource that we are fortunate to have nearby.
    • reply
      by Formerly O.L.I. on Apr 19, 2011 at 11:11 AM in reply to
      I have to agree 100%. Our forests are as important as being able to travel is. Perhaps a sign on both ends of this road stating it is a wildlife area and to drive slowly would help. Like Smokey the Bear; "Only YOU can help prevent accidents; Drive safely on our forest roadways."
  • by Anonymous on Apr 18, 2011 at 11:56 AM
    Catfish Lake Road is not for people who wish to use it as a shortcut. It is for access to Croatan National Forest. Many years ago people with insight and intelligence set aside the national forests and national parks so our children's children would have access to them for recreational (re creation) use. Most are ignorant regarding the concepts behind the way our national forest and parks are managed and governed. Catfish Lake Road will never be paved.
  • by laura Location: greenville on Apr 18, 2011 at 10:29 AM
    :( There's nothing to say about a tragedy of this size. I'm not sure why the marines are mentioned in this story as there's no indication of another vehicle being involved in the crash- it sort of throws out a red herring to mention it.
    • reply
      by Anonymous on Apr 19, 2011 at 09:45 AM in reply to laura
      i believe that it's mentioned with the thought that if this road is to dangerous for the military, then it is too dangerous for the public...
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