By DEUCE NIVEN
A chain-reaction auto crash that claimed the lives of two children and an elderly man near Whiteville Friday has led to criminal charges against a Whiteville teen.
Jaquan Wandaris King, 17, was charged with three counts of misdemeanor death by motor vehicle, driving left of center, and driving without a license, Trooper K.B. Ivey said.
Brenda Inez Acosta, 13, and her niece Brittany Marie Long, 8, both of Bell Street in Tabor City; and Pearlie James Brown, 78, of Pine Log Road, Whiteville; all died in the 9:45 p.m. crash on U.S. 701 near Gaston Sellers Road, Assistant Columbus County Coroner William Hannah said.
King was travelling north on U.S. 701, and was passing a vehicle in a no-passing zone when oncoming traffic forced him back into the northbound lane, Ivey said.
As King pulled his 1997 Ford to the right, he struck the left-rear of Brown’s 2000 Saab, sending it spinning across the center line, head-on into a 2004 Kia Spectrum driving by Savanah Marie Robledo, 25, of Bell Street in Tabor City. Robledo is Long’s mother, and the sister of Acosta. Her other sister, Anna Acosta, 16, was also a passenger in the Kia.
Brown, not wearing a seat belt, was thrown from the Saab. All four occupants of the Kia were belted, Ivey said.
Robledo’s Kia flipped, and came to rest upside-down atop the Saab, it’s nose into the pavement, rear end in the air, Ivey said. Robledo was trapped in the Kia for more than 30-minutes, the precarious positioning of the vehicles slowing the rescue effort, Ivey said.
Robledo and her surviving sister did not appear to have life threatening injuries, Ivey said.
King had three teen passengers in his car, Ivey said, family members and friends. They all were taken to the hospital, none had life threatening injuries, Ivey said. After King’s car struck the Saab, it slid to a stop on the road shoulder and was not involved in the more violent collision.
Ambulances from Whiteville, Chadbourn, Tabor City and Lake Waccamaw assisted in the rescue effort.
A Highway Patrol accident reconstruction team was on the crash scene Saturday, working to determine exactly what happened and when, Ivey said.
Check back here for more details as they become available, and see the April 30 Tabor-Loris Tribune in print and online for the full story.