Vass crash claims four lives

A head-on collision on Lobelia Road, near McGill Road, in Vass, took four lives and sent one person to a trauma center on June 7 at 11 a.m.

The impact totaled both vehicles leaving the engine from each car in ditches on opposite sides of the winding country road.

Vass crash claims lives

An engine from the collision litters a ditch on Lobelia Road in Vass.

According to N.C. State Highway Patrol, the driver of a Kia was traveling east on Lobelia Road and went left of the centerline at a curve and hit a Hyundai traveling west.

The Kia driver, Kevin Norderto Diaz-Ortiz, 26, of Spring Lake, passed away, and the adult female passenger was airlifted from a landing zone at Crains Creek Fire Station to a trauma center. 

All three sisters of the Hyundai died and were identified as driver, Gloria McCrimmon, 72, and passengers, Cheryl Medlin, 63, and Viola Singletary, 74, all from Southern Pines.

“Preliminary investigation indicates that speed and reckless driving are factors on the part of vehicle 1 (Kia),” said N.C. State Highway Patrol to Sandhills Sentinel. 

Good Samaritans stopped at the crash to offer aid.

“I was driving fifty-one miles an hour when one car passed me going eighty, easy,” retired U.S. Air Force nurse Karen Dunne said about being the first on the scene. “I pulled out one with a pulse and began CPR. The patient was OK for about fifteen minutes but passed.”

Dunne’s husband, who retired from the U.S. Army, tried to help someone in the other car.

“An off-duty nurse helped give CPR, too,” Dunne said.

“Kids at the swimming hole came running when they heard the wreck, and I hope this serves as an example,” Dunne said about the speeding.

Other drivers stopped to help but said there was not much they could do.

“A lady came running, shaking, wanting to do something to help,” Dunne said about having to help her sit and calm down.

N.C. State Highway Patrol told Sandhills Sentinel, “The investigation remains ongoing at this time.”

Feature photo: A collision on Lobelia Road in Vass on June 7, 2023, left over forty yards of road debris.

~Article and photos by Sandhills Sentinel Journalist Stephanie M. Sellers; BS Mass Communication and Journalism, MFA Creative Writing. Contact her at [email protected]

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