Teen dies after EC wreck; 3 hurt in Currituck wreck


From staff reports

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

An Elizabeth City teenager died at a Virginia hospital on Monday, a day after the pickup truck in which she was a passenger collided with another pickup in southern Pasquotank County, the N.C. Highway Patrol said.

Pailin Nicole Cheeks, 16, of Zack Circle, died at Sentara Norfolk General Hospital following the trucks’ collision on Sunday at the intersection of Griffin Swamp and Double Bridge roads, Trooper T.F. Langley said.

Meanwhile, three Currituck County teenagers were being treated at a Virginia hospital on Tuesday following an unrelated accident in which the SUV they were aboard collided with a pickup truck in lower Currituck on Sunday.

In the Pasquotank accident, Cheeks was a passenger in a 2003 Ford F-150 pickup driven by her boyfriend, Aiden Copeland, also 16, Langley said.

According to Langley, Copeland was driving south on Griffin Swamp Road when he failed to yield at the Double Bridge Road intersection and the truck collided with a 2005 GMC pickup being driven by Wayne White Jr. 23. White’s truck was headed east on Double Bridge at the time, Langley said.

Both Cheeks and Copeland were ejected from the truck being driven by Copeland, Langley said.

Cheeks was airlifted by Nightingale Air Ambulance to Sentara Norfolk, where she succumbed to her injuries Monday afternoon, Langley said.

According to an obituary published in today’s edition, Cheeks was a 10th grade student at Northeast Academy for Aerospace and Advanced Technologies.

Copeland, of the 200 block of Hobbs Landing Road in Pasquotank County, was taken by ambulance to Sentara Albemarle Medical Center, where he was treated and released, Langley said.

White, a county resident, was initially taken to Sentara Albemarle but he was later transported by ambulance to Sentara Norfolk, Langley said. A Sentara spokeswoman on Tuesday said White is in critical condition at the hospital.

Copeland has been charged with misdemeanor death by motor vehicle and failing to yield right of way at a stop sign, Langley said. Copeland is due in Pasquotank District Court on May 24, Langley said.

In the Currituck accident, Madison Davis, 17, Jonathan Gillette, 18, and James Simmons, 16, were all taken to Sentara Norfolk General Hospital, a state trooper said.

An update on Davis’ and Gillette’s conditions was not immediately available from Sentara, however, because their families had not authorized release of that information. A Sentara spokeswoman said the hospital could not release information about Simmons because he is a minor.

Trooper B.K. White said the collision occurred about 12:30 p.m. on Sunday as Davis, of the 100 block of Sylvia Chase Way, was attempting to make a left turn from Elan Vacations onto Caratoke Highway North.

According to White, Davis was driving a 2013 Subaru Outback, which collided with a 2017 Ford Raptor pickup being driven south by Adam Mulligan, 36, of Fremont, Ohio. Mulligan’s truck was in the left-hand lane but Mulligan couldn't react in time, striking the driver’s side of the SUV, White said.

The SUV rolled onto its roof and began sliding into Caratoke's northbound lanes, while Mulligan’s pickup began spinning, also ending up in Caratoke's northbound lanes, White said.

Davis was airlifted from Currituck Regional Airport by Dare MedFlight to Sentara Norfolk, White said.

Gillette, who was in the front passenger seat, was airlifted from the Grandy Fire Station, also to Sentara Norfolk, White said.

Simmons, who was seated in the rear of the SUV, was transported by ambulance to the Norfolk hospital, White said.

Mulligan, who was alone in his pickup, was transported to Outer Banks Hospital in Dare County, where he was treated and released, White said.

White said Davis will be cited for failing to yield the right of way, causing serious bodily injury.

Both Davis and Gillette are student-athletes at Currituck County High School.

Davis qualified for the North Carolina High School Athletic Association Class 2A cross country state championship meet in November. This winter, she qualified for the NCHSAA 1A/2A state meet in distance races during the indoor track and field season.

Gillette, also a senior, qualified for the 1A/2A East Regional and state championship meets in boys swimming this winter as a member of the Knights’ 4x200 freestyle relay team.