ECU community mourns after student dies in Tuesday crash
By Tyler Stocks
The Daily Reflector
Thursday, December 13, 2018
An East Carolina University student who was killed on her way home on Tuesday afternoon will be honored in the school’s Family Weekend Student Memorial ceremony this fall, a university official said Wednesday afternoon.
Mariah Moore, 22, of Manns Harbor was killed in a head-on crash in Martin County. Moore was pursuing a bachelor of science degree in university studies with a minor in merchandising.
Dr. Virginia Hardy, vice chancellor of student affairs, said that the ECU community is mourning the loss of a fellow Pirate.
“We are deeply saddened by the loss of Mariah Moore,” Hardy said. “Pirate Nation is mourning today and sending our thoughts and prayers to her family, friends, faculty, and classmates. Even though we are at the end of the semester, our dean of students staff and counselors are on campus and ready to help our students through this difficult time before the winter break or after they return in January.”
The crash took place shortly after 10 a.m. on Highway 171, near the intersection with Wainwright Road, north of Old Ford Road, Trooper Jeremy Coltrain said on Wednesday.
Coltrain said Moore’s 2004 Nissan Maxima was traveling Northbound at 55 mph and a 2015 Nissan Versa being driven by Morgan Grace Taylor, 18, of Williamston was traveling southbound at 55 mph. Moore lost control of her car after a tire blew out, causing her to run off the road, overcorrect and crash into Taylor’s car.
A witness who was traveling southbound in front of Taylor before the crash occurred, told Coltrain her car was nearly struck by Moore. She said she saw light smoke coming from a rear tire of Moore's vehicle as it passed her, and then in her rearview mirror saw the car run off the road, fishtail, and slide into another car.
Moore died at the scene and Taylor was extricated from her car, and flown by Vidant EastCare to the hospital with serious injuries. As of Wednesday evening, Vidant officials said they had no record of her being in the hospital.
Taylor is one of North Carolina’s first sextuplets, and she graduated from Riverside High School in June.
Coltrain said that Moore was on her way home from school at the time of the crash.
When Moore didn’t answer or respond to her mother’s calls, her mother became concerned and contacted the Highway Patrol Communications center.
“Her (Moore’s) momma was waiting on her to get home,” Coltrain said. “She had a lunch ready for her and she tried calling her and couldn’t get up with her. And she called the communications center and gave her daughter’s tag to see if there had been any collisions or anything.”
A Dare County trooper went to the family’s home and broke the news to Moore’s mother.
Coltrain said that the crash was unusual as Moore’s vehicle had good tires and that he found paperwork in the car showing it had been serviced recently.
“All we know at this point is the tire blew which caused her to wreck,” Coltrain said. “Looking at the tread even of the tire that was wedged between the rim and the chassis of her car, that tread appeared to be good. It was not a bald tire.”
Coltrain said speed was not a contributing factor but that the impact of the crash was high as both cars were going the speed limit.
“The scary part of it is that most people drive 58-60 and the chances of surviving the impact, even at the speed limit of 55 can be slim to none according to how the collision occurs,” Coltrain said. “That was a lot of force and as soon as that happened, Moore’s car did a complete 360 and it was a very violent twist with that force. The other vehicle came to rest near the area of impact so that shows speed is not a factor.
”We were able to go back and see where Ms. Moore’s car started having some type of mechanical issue with that tire,” Coltrain said. “You can tell in the road where the tire started coming off the rim and the vehicle goes slightly off road to the right and then she overcorrects and slides sideways into the other car.
“There was obviously a tire failure before the impact,” Coltrain said.