Community mourns after 2 NC high school football players die in crash

Charles Elliot (left) and Isaiah Yates. Photo from WNCT

CHICOD, N.C. (WNCN) -– Students in Craven County are mourning the loss of two seniors who died in car crash on Friday afternoon.

Hundreds of people including students, teachers, and administration gathered at West Craven High School Saturday afternoon to remember Isaiah Yates and Charles “C.J.” Elliott.

“He was really motivated, he was always working out with C, and everything” said Jennifer Hill, friend of Yates and Elliott. “They would be on the football field on off days, even when no one else was practicing. They were always practicing.”

The Highway Patrol says the two teens died in a crash near Vanceboro on Friday around 2 p.m. on Highway 43, near Lewis Lane Road, which is close to Highway 102 in Pitt County.

Trooper J. Bullard says Yates, age 17, was driving a car with Elliott, age 18, in the passenger seat.

Yates drover over the center line, causing an SUV to hit the passenger side of the vehicle, officials said.

Yates, of New Bern, and Elliott, of Vanceboro, died on the scene. Three others, including two children, were taken to the hospital with minor injuries. Troopers do not believe that weather was a factor in this crash.

West Craven High School said that Yates and Elliott had bright futures. Both teens had already signed to play football at North Carolina colleges.

According to the West Craven High School website, Elliott had signed to play at UNC-Pembroke and Yates signed a scholarship offer to play at Guilford College in Greensboro, the Greenville Daily Reflector reported.

The school posted the following statement on its Facebook page:

“It is with a heavy heart to inform our Eagle Family the tragic loss of Isaiah Yates and Charles Elliot, better known by the student body as Cee and Zay. These young men loved each other, their teammates and the school. Tomorrow, we will gather in our gymnasium at 1:00 pm as a school community to provide support for each other and their families. Administration, teachers and counselors will be on hand to lead us through this difficult time. Please keep our school and the families in your prayers.”

The wreck is still under investigation.

— WNCT-TV contributed to this report

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