Sunday evening update; see comment from fiance - Three young males – the groom, best man and groomsman headed to a 4 p.m. wedding – were killed in a head-on wreck Saturday afternoon, 51 minutes before the ceremony when a Whiteville man veered his convertible into their lane on N.C. 214 between Hallsboro and Lake Waccamaw.
Brandon Tedder, 23, of Slippery Log Road, Whiteville, was the front-seat passenger in a red Honda Prelude traveling east – at a speed estimated to be 65 mph or higher -- when a silver Chrysler Sebring convertible, headed west, moved into the eastbound lane.
For details on the three funerals, click here.
The Honda slammed into the convertible at 3:09 p.m. and bounced to the right, turned completely around from the high-speed impact, and slid into an eight-foot ditch.
Tedder’s best man, Brandon Lee Mintz, 19, of Old Union Road, Delco, was the driver of the Honda, and he, Tedder and 13-year-old Daniel Sykes of Frank Norris Road, Tabor City, died instantly from the crushing impact, according to Coroner Linwood Cartrette and Highway Patrol Trooper Scott Floyd.
Headed to lake
The young males were headed to the Council Baptist Church where Tedder was to marry Angell Nicole Bonham of the Bladen County community of Kelly.
Sykes was ejected and landed in the same ditch near the Honda, owned by Mintz’ father of Delco. None of the young males were using seat belts, Floyd reported.
They were on their way to Lake Waccamaw to the home of William Tedder, the groom’s father, where some family members were waiting. They were then to travel to the Council Baptist Church in the edge of Bladen County, north of Lake Waccamaw, for Tedder’s 4 p.m. wedding.
John Daniel Kelley, 43, of King Arthur Drive, Whiteville, was the driver of the Chrysler, and sustained critical injuries. Kelley, employed by Big Lots in Whiteville, was airlifted to New Hanover Regional Medical Center in Wilmington.
Kelley was charged with driving while impaired, Floyd said. A blood sample, taken from Kelley at the hospital here, will be tested in the State Bureau of Investigation’s lab as to any alcohol content.
Floyd found several empty glass bottles of alcoholic beverages in the front passenger area of Kelley’s convertible.
Kelley’s passenger was his youngest son, Michael Vincent Kelley, 17, a senior at Whiteville High School. An airbag deployed on the passenger side, and he was not seriously injured. Floyd said the airbag probably saved him from major injuries. Both the Kelleys were wearing seatbelts.
Tedder was the son of Mr. and Mrs. William Tedder of Lake Waccamaw, and Pamela Cribb Sykes of Tabor City, according to a March 16 engagement and wedding notice published in The News Reporter.
Young Tedder was a graduate of East Columbus High School, and was employed by Walmart. His intended bride is also a graduate of East Columbus, and graduated from Southeastern Community College. She is a phlebotomist at Columbus Regional Healthcare here.
Floyd said the Chrysler was moving at an angle when it crashed into the Honda, and the impact was so great it caused the Honda to bounce to the right and spin around before landing in the ditch, covering a distance of 150 feet.
Parts of the Honda were strewn along the right shoulder, and the entire exhaust pipe and muffler was thrown onto a grassed area in front of several homes on the south side of N.C. 214 just east of Jackson’s Crossing.
The trooper said the Chrysler moved backward at an angle 83 feet and came to rest on the westbound shoulder, still headed west.
The deaths raise Columbus County’s highway fatality toll for 2009 to six, as the county’s total this year tripled within 48 hours. A single fatality took place Thursday before the three Saturday deaths.
Floyd said the wreck investigation continue