LIBERTY, N.C. — A 12-year-old is dead after a Tuesday evening crash in Randolph County.
Trooper Greg Ingram with the State Highway Patrol says the single-vehicle accident happened shortly before 7:15 p.m. on Richland Church Road at Old U.S. 421.
According to Ingram, a 1999 GMC Yukon was headed west on Richland Church Road when it failed to stop at a stop sign, continued through the intersection, struck a utility pole and overturned on its side.
Trooper Ingram said 12-year-old Leah Elizabeth Way, of Climax, died in the crash.
Way was a student at Northeast Randolph Middle School. Wednesday three of her friends, Kaitlynn Perrin, Caroline Remsburg, and Elizabeth Remsburg, visited the scene of the accident to pay their respects.
“We called her Princess Leah because he was our princess and our best friend,” said Perrin.
Inside the vehicle were the driver and three passengers, but no other injuries were reported.
Ingram says all three passengers were in the back seat of the vehicle. The 12-year-old was in the middle seat. Leah Way was not wearing a seat belt, but the other passengers were, Ingram said.
According to Ingram, Martha Way, Leah’s mother, was the driver.
Investigators are still working to determine the cause of the crash.
A neighbor named Clif Kivett’s family has owned the property on that corner for nearly three decades.
Kivett said wrecks there are common due to the sharp curve that precedes the stop sign as Richland Church Road westbound dead ends into Old US 421.
“If they could straighten it and put a median in and maybe even a caution light, it would be so much more feasible in my opinion,” Kivett said.
Kivett said he’s willing to give up a good chunk of his land to straighten out the curve in the road if it will prevent future accidents.