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Churches, schools remember teens killed in Greenville accident

Published: Jun. 3, 2021 at 2:56 PM EDT|Updated: Jun. 4, 2021 at 7:20 PM EDT
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GREENVILLE, N.C. (WITN) - Four teenagers were killed in Thursday’s crash on U.S. 264 in Pitt County, including one who was set to graduate this Saturday from Southwest Edgecombe High School.

The Highway Patrol says those who died have been identified as 18-year-old Abby Foster of Farmville, 17-year-old John Winstead of Tarboro, 15-year-old Devin Wilson of Tarboro, and his sister, 18-year-old Madison. Another sibling, 16-year-old Dakota Wilson, suffered minor injuries.

Henry Parker, pastor at Belvoir Free Will Baptist Church in Pitt County is the family pastor for Madison and Devin. Speaking to WITN on behalf of the family, he says Madison was to walk across the stage this weekend and graduate.

He says the Wilson’s were like family and their deaths hit hard, not only for his family but the entire church.

“More so than just church members, they’ve been like family to us,” Parker said. “Madison called my wife “Mama Chelsea.” We know they had a faith in Christ and we know they’re in the arms of Christ ... the family takes peace in that. But at the same time, it doesn’t take away the hole in our heart and that hole will never be filled.”

The crash happened Thursday afternoon between the Highway 43 exit and the Stantonsburg Road interchange west of Greenville.

The Highway Patrol says a box truck, driven by Alberto Pedraza III of Walstonburg, crossed the median and struck their car headed in the other direction. He suffered minor injuries and is at Vidant Medical Center.

Troopers say Pedraza was driving too fast for the rainy conditions. He faces charges of misdemeanor death by motor vehicle.

Meanwhile, the church, schools and teams the teens were a part of, remembered them.

Associate pastor Bruce Libengood described the Wilson siblings.

“They loved to have people around them. They loved to be there and to fellowship,” Libengood said.

The Wilson siblings would often be seen with John Winstead, who goes by “JT.” The group liked to hunt and fish together, according to family members.

Pastor Parker says John Winstead and Madison Wilson were boyfriend and girlfriend while Abbey Foster and Dakota Wilson were as well.

JT’s baseball coach at Tarboro High, Zachary Parisher, said JT was a joy to be around.

“He came to practice every day with a smile,” Parisher said. “Always joking around with the guys, he was, you know, just happy to be there.”

Parisher said JT hit his first homerun a couple of weeks ago.

“He brought an intensity that, it’s hard to get high school kids to bring each and every night.”

JT’s mother Lisa Winstead said her son wanted to make everyone else happy.

“He was a wonderful child who was loved by everyone and I am not sure how I can get through this at all!” Winstead said.

JT’s dedication as an athlete is shared by Abby Foster, whose softball coach at Pitt Community College remembered and said she was a “fierce competitor and a very selfless person.”

“The girls have all been saying, we’re gonna remember we have a sister looking over us,” coach Cassie Harrell said.

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Tarboro High baseball has three games scheduled next week but Parisher said they’re playing it by ear.

“There’s nothing you can say in this situation that makes it all better, there’s nothing you can do,” Parisher said. “You just kind of have to let all the team members take it at their own pace and go at their own time.”

Parker said church support is most important at this time and on Sunday, there will be an offering for the Wilson family.

“There’s gonna be times where I know they’re gonna feel like “I just can’t go.” And it’s our job as our brothers and sisters in Christ to come alongside them and love on them and continue with them.”

THURSDAY AFTERNOON STORY:

Three people are dead in a crash that has closed U.S. 264 in Pitt County for most of the afternoon.

The crash happened this afternoon between the Highway 43 exit and the Stantonsburg Road interchange west of Greenville.

The Highway Patrol says a box truck crossed the median and struck a car headed in the other direction. Troopers say they believe heavy rains today were a factor in the crash.

The truck was entangled in the steel cables that separate the divided highway.

Troopers say this box truck crossed the median.
Troopers say this box truck crossed the median.(WITN)

The three people killed all were in the car, according to troopers.

Troopers say two other people in the car were taken to Vidant Medical Center, one with critical injuries.

The driver of the box truck had minor injuries.

The highway reopened around 5:30 p.m.

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