The death of four teens prompted an outpouring of sympathy across several communities on Friday as news of their deaths in a crash outside Greenville spread.
The State Highway Patrol confirmed Friday that Abby Foster, 18, of Farmville, killed in the wreck Thursday along with friends John Winstead, 17, Devin Wilson, 15, and Madison Wilson, 18, all of Edgecombe County.
The incident took place at 11:43 a.m a little over a mile north of Greenville city limits on U.S. 264 Bypass. The patrol said that a box truck was traveling north when it ran off the road to the left and crossed through the median cable. The southbound vehicle occupied by the teens, a small passenger car, was struck head-on by the truck.
Three of the teens died at the scene instantly, according to George Darden IV, chief at the Red Oak Fire Department in Greenville. The fourth died in surgery at Vidant Medical Center. Dakota Wilson, 17, was a passenger along with his siblings. He suffered almost no physical injuries, Darden said.
Foster, the driver, was a graduate of Farmville Central High School, where she played softball. A pitcher, she recently completed her freshman season with Pitt Community College Bulldogs with a 6-2 record and one save in 17 appearances in the circle, according to the college.
“The Pitt softball program and athletic department has suffered a tremendous loss,” PCC Athletic Director Dawn Manning said on the school’s Facebook page. “Abby was a fantastic young lady who succeeded academically and athletically for the Bulldogs. She was a leader on the field and a treasured friend to her teammates. Our deepest sympathy goes out to all of the families who have been affected.”
Foster was enrolled in the Associate in General Education program at PCC. She planned to study medical sonography at the college once she completed the program’s entrance requirements.
“Abby was such a dedicated student and athlete,” PCC Student Success Advisor Brooke Green said in the post. “It was such a pleasure working with her and being able to be around such a genuine person.”
The post said the college was arranging grief counselors for the student-athletes and athletic staff. Friends, family and teammates are holding a candle-lighting ceremony in Farmville tonight.
The event is planned for 8 p.m. at the Farmville Central High School softball field. Her former coach, Shawn M. Talbott, posted the news on social media.
“My heart is hurtin’,” Talbott said. “Next to my own daughters, my softball players are the love of my life! Abby Foster, I love you and I’m so proud of all that you accomplished! I’m praying for her family, friends, teammates and the Farmville softball community!”
The school also has placed her jersey on the field so people can stop by and pay respects on Saturday.
Abby Fosters number 7 jersey will be hanging in the pitchers circle, where she spent many innings for Jaguars, throughout the day and night. Please feel free to drop by and pay your respects. Once a Jaguar, always a Jaguar. pic.twitter.com/J3l3sMMWDE— FCHS sports (@FCHSsportsJags) June 4, 2021
Madison Wilson was expected to graduate today from SouthWest Edgecombe High School. Devin was a ninth-grader at the school, set to hold its ceremony at 10 a.m. The two lived in Edgecombe County south of Tarboro and attended church in Belvoir.
Madison’s boyfriend, John “J.T.” Winstead, lived in Tarboro and was a baseball player at Tarboro High School. Their deaths clouded what should be a happy time for Edgecombe County Public Schools, a statement from the superintendent Valerie Bridges said.
“These students will be greatly missed by the students and staff members of SouthWest Edgecombe High School, Tarboro High School, and the entire ECPS community. We send our heartfelt condolences and sympathies to their family and friends during this unspeakable time.”
The Wilsons had attended Belvoir Free Will Baptist Church on N.C. 33 West since they were small children. They and their parents had a strong faith, pastor Henry Parker said Thursday. “The best thing to focus on is they are in the hands of God,” he said.
The State Highway Patrol reconstruction unit responded to the scene on Thursday and determined the box truck was exceeding safe speed for the rainy conditions. The driver, Alberto Pedraza III, has been charged with misdemeanor death by motor vehicle.