Belhaven girl killed in crash|Five others hospitalized

Published 6:24 am Friday, November 19, 2010

Contributing Editor

A 13-year-old Belhaven girl was killed in a single-vehicle crash involving a pickup truck Thursday night, according to the N.C. Highway Patrol.
Hailey Elizabeth Smith, an eighth-grade student at Northeast Elementary School, was among six teenagers involved in the wreck on Pamlico Beach Road near Wilkins Road. The wreck occurred just before 9 p.m., according to the Highway Patrol.
The six teenagers from Belhaven were in the 2001 Ford pickup truck that crashed. Cooper Greer, 16, was driving the pickup truck, according to the Highway Patrol. He was transported to Pungo District Hospital in Belhaven. Zachary Burbage, 15, and Rhea Anne Woolard, 14, also were transported to Pungo District Hospital.
Two others in the pickup truck, Katelyn Smith, 17, sister of the girl killed, and Matthew Greene, 14, suffered more-serious injuries and were transported to Pitt County Memorial Hospital, according to the Highway Patrol.
The teenagers were not wearing seat belts at the time of the crash, said Sgt. Tim Crumpler with the Highway Patrol’s office in Washington. Three of them were sitting on the front seat, and the other three teens were sitting in the back seat, he said. Hailey Smith was seated in the middle of the back seat, he added.
The two Smith sisters, Greer and Greene were ejected from the pickup truck, Crumpler said.
The wreck occurred at a sharp curve on Pamlico Beach Road, Crumpler said.
“The collision itself is still under investigation” Crumpler said Friday morning.
Once the investigation is completed, the Highway Patrol will consult with the district attorney’s office regarding any charges that may be filed, Crumpler said.
“Speed is a factor. He was running too fast for that curve,” Crumpler said.
The pickup truck ran off the road to the right, when the driver overcorrected, that sent the pickup truck into a roll, Crumpler said. The vehicle roller over on the road, not an adjacent ditch, he explained. A rollover on asphalt is more violent than one in a ditch because the asphalt does not cushion the impact of a rollover, he said.
Grief counselors were sent to Northeast Elementary School on Friday morning, according to Beaufort County Schools’ public information officer Sarah Hodges.
“We have a plan in place to address these types of situations,” Hodges said. “That plan got put into motion well before the school bell this morning. The focus was on Northeast and getting the students and staff through the day.”