Collision claims area teen;
Clayton resident faces felony charge
BRIAN RAPP 11.NOV.08
|Shannon Nicole Adkins|
her senior project prior to graduating this past May from Clayton High
School, Shannon Nicole Adkins chose to research Johnston County’s grim
reputation as the county with the highest incidence of teenage traffic
fatalities in North Carolina.
“She was so excited about the
things she learned,” her mother, Ernestine “Ernie” Adkins, said Monday.
“She talked about what the police thought were causing a lot of the
accidents, things like talking on cell phones and messing with the
radio. And she’d ridden with the country sheriff’s department and
visited the probation office in Clayton. She was in the process of
completing a background check to volunteer for 10 hours a week there.”
had even decided to change her major at Wayne Community College in
Goldsboro, where she commuted from home, from dental hygiene to
criminal justice as a result of her research and experience with the
county law agencies, her mother said.
Yesterday afternoon, Doug
and Ernie Adkins, and the rest of Shannon Adkins’ relatives and
friends, attended her funeral at McLaurin Funeral Home in Clayton –
three days after Adkins herself became the 27th addition since 2006 on
the county’s list of teen accident victims.
According to her
mother and published reports, the 18-year-old CHS graduate was
returning to her home at 2100 Persimmon Circle, in the Bear Tree Run
subdivision off Buffalo Road between Archer Lodge and the Flowers
Plantation, shortly before midnight on Saturday. Adkins had been
visiting her boyfriend, Tony Helms of Kenly, and had called to tell her
mother she’d be later than her expected 11 p.m. arrival home.
many 18-year-olds still come home by 11 p.m. on the weekend and call
their parents to let them know she’s on the way?” Ernie Adkins said.
“She was a good girl.”
Adkins was driving her 1996 Toyota Tacoma
pickup truck – which originally belonged to her dad – north on Buffalo
Road from N.C. 42 East and was within yards of the entrance of her
subdivision, the intersection of Buffalo Road and Raintree Drive, when
a south-bound Ford F-150 pickup truck driven by 29-year-old Desiree
Olsen, of 393 Woodson Drive in the Riverwood subdivision, crossed the
centerline and hit Adkins head-on.
The impact threw the Tacoma
off the road and onto a wooden fence near the intersection of Buffalo
Road and Kentucky Drive, where it came to rest upside down, pinning
Adkins – who was wearing her seat belt – in the wreckage. She was
pronounced dead at the scene by medical personal in first responders
units and troopers from the state Highway Patrol.
who heard the crash, said she could see the site from her house. She
and her husband walked to the crash site – not realizing, at first,
that her daughter was involved – and were told at the scene that their
only child had been killed.
Olsen was transported to Wake-Med,
where she was listed Monday in fair condition with injuries suffered in
the accident. The Highway Patrol has charged Olsen – who, according to
published reports, admitted she had been drinking – with driving while
impaired and one count of felony death by motor vehicle.
spokesperson at the county Highway Patrol post said Monday that a
report on the accident, listing the results of a breathalyzer test
administered to Olsen at the scene, was unavailable.
Trooper C.T. Oravits, who is investigating the accident, were not
returned before deadline, but Adkins said she was told by Oravits that
Olsen was estimated to have been driving between 70 and 75 miles per
hour – 20 miles over the speed limit – when she went left of center and
hit Shannon Adkins.
Billy Friedrich, Adkins’ guidance counselor
at Clayton High School, remembered her as “one of the most delightful
students I’ve known in the three years I’ve been here,” he said Monday.
“She was very hard-working and very much involved with that project on teenage accidents,” he said. “It’s a very sad day here.”
Hartley, who oversees senior projects at the school, said, “Shannon was
very enthusiastic about that topic. That’s what first struck me when I
heard [about the accident] – the first thing I said to my husband was,
‘That’s what she was researching last year.’”
“I’m nobody’s mama anymore,” Ernie Adkins said. “That woman [Olsen] took my baby from me.
live for your children; you think you have the game plan all figured
out. I was going to retire in five years [from the state Department of
Corrections]. Shannon would have graduated by then, maybe been planning
on getting married. I could have helped taken care of her kids. Now,
I’ll never be a grandmother.”
Adkins is the seventh Johnston
County teenager – and the second in seven days – to die in a county
traffic accident since the first of the year.
On Oct. 31,
Benson resident Steven “Drew” Smith, a senior at West Johnston High
School, was killed when a pickup truck in which he was riding lost
control and overturned on Zack’s Mill Road. The driver of the truck,
17-year-old Dennis Dewitt, has been charged with misdemeanor death by
Both accidents come just days before a planned
countywide public forum about teen driving fatalities headed by county
Commissioner Tony Braswell.
The forum is scheduled for Thursday at the county Agricultural Center on N.C. 210, beginning at 7:30 p.m.
just hope there is some good that comes out of this,” Ernie Adkins said
Monday. “People have got to understand what is going on. This has to
Condolences may be made online at
www.mclaurinatpinecrest.com. The family asks that that memorial
donations be made to the Johnston County SPCA, 720 Durham St., Clayton,
|NOV 22 • I
just wanted somehow to convey my condolences to Shannon's parents. Such
tragedies have unfortunately affected many people around me, and I am
hoping to somehow help change things for the better. With all due
respect to Bonnie, putting up more radars etc won't help. There will
always be a time when there are no radars and an irresponsible person
will decide to drive. It is only once people decide to respect one
another by elevating their standards of behavior that we will see such
|Bonnie • email@example.com|
|NOV 14 • I
am a neighbor and also a mother. My heart breaks for the parents. Such
a terrible thing. Something has to be done around here. Though it
wouldn't have made a difference in Shannon's case, people drive way too
fast on Buffalo Road. Some sections are 45 mph, some 55, but drivers do
well over that all the time. There's an elementary school near the
accident site where several wrecks have already occurred with many more
close calls. My own children were nearly run down getting on the school
bus when a driver failed to stop. We need help. Reduce the speed limit.
Put up a traffic light like at Archer Lodge Middle School. More
officers - more radar.|
Do SOMETHING to protect our kids!
|CINDY • firstname.lastname@example.org|
|NOV 12 • My
heart goes out to the parents of Shannon. I have a son and he is my
only child. He has just got his license at 16 years old. I pray to God
every time he leaves home that he will keep him in good hands. I cannot
even imagine what this family is going through. I feel your pain and
hope and pray that these kids realize the danger on the highway this
day and time. God bless you!|