An SUV flipped over after crashing into the steps of a Bertie County church, killing a passenger, investigators told NewsChannel 12.
The Highway Patrol said 28-year-old Ronald Everett, of Williamston, died Sunday at Vidant Medical Center after Saturday's wreck at Mount Olive Missionary Baptist Church near Lewiston Woodville.
According to troopers, Everett was the front-seat passenger in an SUV driven by 24-year-old Tremayne Smallwood, of Windsor.
But at about 4:40 p.m. Saturday, Smallwood lost control on Highway 308, crossed the center line, and ran off the road to the left, troopers said. The SUV then crashed into the brick steps of Mount Olive Missionary Baptist Church, before hitting a utility pole guy wire and a parked church van. Smallwood's SUV flipped upside down as a result, troopers said.
"I thought for sure that someone had to have gotten killed in the accident," said George Askew, Chair Trustee at the church. Askew came outside after hearing the collision. "He had to be traveling at a high rate of speed, I'm not sure how fast."
Everett died from his injuries. But Smallwood and another passenger, 23-year-old Behaiah Urquhart, both survived, said investigators.
One man, who goes by the name "Nut", said the SUV passed him going around 100 mph.
"I could see fire, coming up from the rocks on the road. And that wasn't no good deal. I had to pray! I had to pray," he said.
But says he then found out over a police scanner that there had been a wreck. He then learned that a man had died, and that he knew him.
"All I can do is pray. It was somebody you know and, would come by and talk with you. It's just like, like I lost one of my children," he said.
Friends say Everett leaves behind a wife and four children.
Speed was a factor and charges are pending against Smallwood, troopers said.