FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (WNCN) — Five people were killed, including the mother of three children, and two others hurt in a three-vehicle crash Wednesday night, the Fayetteville Police said.
“The damage is devastating,” Chief Harold Medlock said. “This is the worst crash that I’ve ever seen in my career.”
Police are working to contact family members of the people who were killed in the wreck, but say those victims are all in their late teens or early twenties. Police said they’re working to find the next-of-kin for three of the victims. The other two deceased victims are “unrecognizable,” they said.
The driver of the green 2013 Kia was Shannah Lee Botts, 33, of Fayetteville. She died in the crash and was the mother of three children, friends said.
The driver of the 2000 red Ford Mustang was Terek Rashad Johnson, 22, of Fayetteville, who is listed in serious condition at Cape Fear Valley Medical Center. Four people in the car with Johnson were killed when it overturned, police said.
The driver of the 1995 black Ford Crown Victoria was Dadrian Rashad Thomas, 29, of Fayetteville. He was treated and released at Cape Fear Valley Medical Center.
A total of seven people were involved in the accident. Police at first thought eight were involved.
The first of those killed to be identified was Botts, who died at the hospital Thursday morning. Her best friend, Heather Boyd, said, Somebody had to take an innocent human being from our world a little too soon.”
Boyd described Botts as “a great mother.”
“Her lovingness and her willingness for her kids and everyone else, she was always a good friend to everybody,” Boyd said. “She was always a great mother to her children”
Medlock said investigators suspect speed played a role in the accident, which happened just after 8 p.m. on Cliffdale Road near Lynhurst Drive.
“We believe that the speeds were pretty excessive,” Medlock said.
Dylan Patterson says he was riding his bike in front of the apartment complex and witnessed the crash.
He says two cars were racing on Cliffdale Road at speeds up to 70 miles per hour. That’s when Patterson says another car pulled out of the apartment complex and all three cars collided.
“There were some cars racing, coming down this way and I was riding my bike behind a guy and I saw him pull out and there was a crash,” Patterson told CBS North Carolina reporter David Hurst,”Shrapnel came around my face and I was kind of freaked out at the time.”
Authorities have since said they two vehicle were not racing.
A resident who lives nearby said she heard a loud boom and as soon as she came outside, people were screaming for help.
Patterson reflected on the severity of the accident, saying, “It’s really not worth it. Four people lost their lives here, others at the hospital. Just be safe, please be safe Fayetteville.”
“I’ve seen bad ones,” Medlock said. “This is as bad or worse than anything I’ve ever seen.”
One man who lives in the neighborhood across from the crash said that it was only a matter of time before someone got killed on that road.
“I said someone going to get killed out here one of these days, and last night was a prime example,” said Ray Boyles. “My neighbor over here last night said maybe we’ll get a stop light here now…something to slow these people down who come through here.”
Boyles said vehicles speed up and down the road all the time.
“I remember back when I was a kid this was a two-lane road and you never seen anything like this happen back then, but now they give people multiple lanes and they turn it into a race track here.”
An extensive investigation continued throughout the night and into the early morning. The road was reopened to traffic by 2:30 a.m.
No charges had been announced as of Thursday afternoon.