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Child dies in head-on wreck

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The intersection of Mumford and Geneva on May 22, 2017. (Joe Pellegrino/The Daily Reflector)

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Kristin Zachary

Monday, May 22, 2017

A 9-year-old girl died Sunday from injuries she suffered in a Saturday wreck on Mumford Road.

Ran’Davia Purvis, 9, was a third-grade student at Pactolus School.

Pitt County Schools spokesman Travis Lewis said a crisis team was at the school on Monday morning.

State Highway Patrol troopers responded at 1:23 p.m. to a two-vehicle crash on Mumford Road near Geneva Court, just east of Greenville.

Ran’Davia was a front-seat passenger in a 2008 Chevrolet Impala driven by her mother, Cherita Harris, 33, of Greenville, according to Trooper M. Peaden.

Harris was driving westbound on Mumford Road when a 2013 GMC Sierra truck veered left of center and crashed head-on into the Impala.

John Radford, 67, of Greenville, driver of the truck, swerved to avoid a vehicle that had slowed in front of him, according to Peaden.

Radford and Harris each were estimated to have been traveling 45 mph, the speed limit in that area, Peaden said.

There was no evidence of braking or skid marks, he said.

“Nobody had time to hit the brakes,” Peaden said. “That would estimate the speed of impact at 90 mph.”

Peaden said anytime two vehicles, of several thousand pounds each, collide at such a speed, there is a greater likelihood a life will be lost.

“I believe what happened, a bigger truck and a smaller car, the way the car looked and the way the damage of the truck looked, it’s called underride/override,” Peaden said. “The car basically went under the truck when they slammed together.”

Damage was severe to the front of the car, as the engine block was pushed into the front seats, he said.

Both vehicles came to rest in a ditch.

An off-duty nurse stopped at the scene ahead of EMS arrival, Peaden said. “She stopped and did CPR on the scene and got [Ran’Davia] somehow back stable.”

Ran’Davia and her mother were transported by EMS to Vidant Medical Center, he said. Harris was in fair condition as of Monday afternoon, according to a hospital spokeswoman.

Radford was not injured in the crash. All occupants were wearing their seat belts.

Ran’Davia died Sunday afternoon, Peaden said.

Radford received a citation at the scene. He is charged with misdemeanor death by vehicle.

“He’s very sorry for what happened,” Peaden said, adding that Radford expressed remorse at the scene. “It was a freak accident.”

Contact Kristin Zachary at kzachary@reflector.com or 252-329-9571. Follow her on Twitter @kristinzachary.

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Local photographer Joe Pellegrino explores Greenville to create a photographic census of its people.

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