SURRY COUNTY, N.C. — The 3-year-old daughter of two foreign missionaries died after their minivan crashed on an icy road Monday morning in Surry County.
According to EMS Director John Shelton, Matthew Cretzman was driving west on I-74 with his wife and two daughters when their minivan hit a patch of ice on the Highway 89 bridge near Exit 6 around 7:30 a.m. The minivan left the roadway and struck an interstate sign, causing heavy damage to the right side of the vehicle, Shelton said.
“There was enough speed there for the momentum of the vehicle to travel across the two lanes off roadway and into the post,” Shelton said.
3-year-old Azlynn Cretzman, who was properly restrained in a child safety seat on the right side of the backseat, was pronounced dead at the scene, Shelton said.
Her sister, 2-year-old Maddison Cretzman, was properly restrained in a child safety seat on the left side of the backseat, Shelton said. She was taken with her father to the Northern Hospital of Surry County, where they were both treated and released.
Lana Cretzman, the mother, was riding in the front passenger’s seat. She was airlifted from the scene to Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, where she was in fair condition as of Monday afternoon.
The family has since been reunited at the hospital.
Shelton said the parents are Baptist missionaries from Ontario, Canada. It’s not yet clear as to where the family was headed, but postcards left scattered at the scene indicate the family had ties with missionary work in Cuba.
State troopers are still investigating the crash.
Troopers said most of the interstate was clear at the time, but Shelton said most deadly winter weather crashes seem to happen just as drivers begin thinking the roads are safe.
“There is a lot of false security out there with slush in the road and ice patches; and we normally don’t have these types of serious accidents until that starts to happen because people start to speed up,” Shelton said.
It was not clear how fast the father was driving.
Shelton said there were nearly 100 weather-related accidents in the county on Monday morning alone, but this was the only one with serious injuries.