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Teen charged in Onslow County wreck that killed schoolmate

By Amber Roberts
Published On: Apr 21 2014 08:20:47 AM CDT
Updated On: Apr 23 2014 04:05:58 PM CDT
ONSLOW COUNTY -

A White Oak High School student has been charged for a wreck that killed a schoolmate.

The Highway Patrol announced Wednesday afternoon that 17-year-old Marquice Brown has been charged with misdemeanor death by motor vehicle, reckless driving, exceeding safe speed for conditions, and a license restriction violation.

Brown has since been released to his father, troopers said. He is due in court on June 9.

Troopers said Brown was driving an SUV on Rocky Run Road, east of Jacksonville, at about 4:15 a.m. Sunday. But the SUV ran off the road, went airborne over a creek, and landed in a wooded area, according to investigators.

The wreck killed 15-year-old Zachary Joseph Aldrich (pictured above) on impact, said troopers. Brown and his two other passengers, 15-year-old Charles Russo and 15-year-old Taliesin Beaufort-Jiminez, suffered non life-threatening injuries.

Aldrich was a freshman at White Oak High School, officials said. The three other teens attend the school as well.

Troopers said speed was a factor in the crash, and it appeared Brown was going at about 70 mph in a 55 mph zone. They also said Brown was driving under a provisional license, which restricts him from driving between 9 p.m. and 5 a.m.

A memorial for Aldrich is set to be held at 10 a.m. Saturday at Jones Funeral Home, located at 303 Chaney Ave. in Jacksonville.

Condolences may be left at www.jonesfh.org.

Those wishing to donate in Aldrich's honor may contact Shriners Hospitals for Children at 950 W. Faris St. in Greenville, SC.

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A memorial has been scheduled for a White Oak High School freshman killed in a crash that also injured three other schoolmates.

The memorial for 15-year-old Zachary Joseph Aldrich is set to be held at 10 a.m. Saturday at Jones Funeral Home, located at 303 Chaney Ave. in Jacksonville.

Condolences may be left at www.jonesfh.org.

The single-vehicle wreck that killed Aldrich happened along Rocky Run Road, east of Jacksonville, at about 4:15 a.m. Sunday, according to the Highway Patrol.

Troopers said the SUV that Aldrich was riding in ran off the road, went airborne over a creek, and landed in a wooded area. Aldrich died on impact, said investigators.

Also in the SUV were 17-year-old driver Marquice Brown, 15-year-old Charles Russo and 15-year-old Taliesin Beaufort-Jiminez, troopers said. The three suiffered non-life threatening injuries, and school officials said they also attend White Oak High School.

Troopers said speed was a factor in the crash, and it appeared Brown was going at about 70 mph in a 55 mph zone. They also said Brown was driving under a provisional license, which restricts him from driving between 9 p.m. and 5 a.m. Brown will most likely face charges, according to investigators.

Students at White Oak High School said they organized to wear blue on Monday in honor of Aldrich. His friends said blue was his favorite color.

Those wishing to donate in Aldrich's honor may contact Shriners Hospitals for Children at 950 W. Faris St. in Greenville, SC.

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Family, friends and classmates of the teen who died in an early morning Easter crash visited the site where the accident took place.

A memorial was set up along Rocky Run Road, east of Jacksonville, on Monday afternoon. Troopers say Zachary Aldrich (pictured) died on impact after the SUV he was riding in went airborne over a creek and landed in a wooded area. Aldrich was a student at White Oak High School.

Also in the car was 17-year-old driver, Marquice Brown; and 15 year olds Charles Russo and Taliesin Beaufort-Jiminez. Troopers say these three suffered non-life threatening injuries, and school officials say they also attend White Oak High School.

Schoolmates came to see the site of where it all happened in the hopes of getting some closure.

"I saw pictures and stuff buts it's way different for you to come out here and see the story of how it all happened," said Cody Bruns, a schoolmate of Aldrich. "It brings a realization that this situation really did happen compared to you just hearing about it."

Troopers said speed was a factor in the crash, and that it appeared Brown was going at about 70 mph in a 55 mph zone. They also said Brown was driving under a provisional license, which restricts him from driving between 9 p.m. and 5 a.m. Troopers say the crash happened at 4:15 a.m. and that Brown will most likely face charges.

Students at White Oak tells us Brown was back in school on Monday.

Russo and Beaufort-Jimniez are still being treated at New Hanover hospital, according to medical officials.

Students at White Oak say they organized to wear blue on Monday in honor of Aldrich. His friends say blue was his favorite color.

"In high school there are so many groups and everybody's separated," said Bailey Bruns, a friend of Aldrich."It was nice to see everybody come together when something tragic like this happens. It's really wonderful. Everybody's upset, but it helps."

Those wishing to donate in Aldrich's honor may contact Shriners Hospitals for Children, at 950 W. Faris Street, Greenville, SC 29605.

Condolences may be left at jonesfh.org.

PREVIOUS STORY:

A crisis team has been sent to an Onslow County high school to help students cope with a crash that killed one of their peers and injured three others.

According to the Highway Patrol, 17-year-old Marquice Brown, of Jacksonville, was driving a 2007 Hyundai Santa Fe with three passengers on Rocky Run Road, east of Jacksonville. But Brown ran off the road at about 4:15 a.m. Sunday, troopers said.

The SUV went airborne and over a creek, according to investigators. The vehicle's front passenger side then slammed into a tree on the other side of the creek. 

Troopers said that impact killed 15-year-old Zachary Aldrich (pictured).

Brown and the two other passengers --Charles Russo, and Taliesin Beaufort-Jiminez, both 15-- suffered non life-threatening injuries and were taken to New Hanover Regional Medical Center, said investigators. Brown has since been released, and both Russo and Jiminez were in fair condition as of Monday afternoon.

Troopers said speed was a factor in the crash, and that it appeared Brown was going at about 70 mph in a 55 mph zone. They also said Brown was driving under a provisional license, which restricts him from driving between 9 p.m. and 5 a.m.

Troopers said they plan to charge Brown in the crash, and are working with the District Attorney's Office.

School officials said all four teens in the vehicle attend White Oak High School. A crisis team has been sent to the school to help students cope with the fatal wreck.

"These kinds of tragedies hit hard, and so it's very important to give all students the opportunity who need it to express their feelings," said Suzie Ulbrich, public information officer for Onslow County Schools.

According to troopers, it appeared the four teens had said they were spending the night at one of their homes. But investigators said they didn't know why the teens were out so early in the morning. Aldrich's father reportedly told troopers he didn't know his son was with the other teens, said investigators.