GUILFORD COUNTY, N.C. -- A former Eastern Guilford High School student was killed and his cousin critically injured in a single-vehicle crash in northeastern Guilford County Tuesday evening.
The incident occurred at 7:33 p.m. in the 7100 block of Sockwell Road when 16-year-old Dakota William French's vehicle drove off the road to the right, veered across the center line to the left, hit a ditch and overturned several times, according to Highway Patrol Master Trooper Chris Knox.
In addition, front-seat passenger Jimmy Ray French Jr., 18, was not wearing his seatbelt and was ejected from the car. He was taken to Moses Cone Hospital with life-threatening injuries.
Throughout the day Wednesday, friends and former classmates left flowers in Dakota’s memory at the accident scene.
“I actually talked to his brother last night. It is so sad talking to him. He just couldn’t believe it,” said former classmate Taylor Hall, as she wiped away tears. "He was always there to give a smile and always laughing. He was just a fun person to be around.”
Family friend Alisha Warren cried and embraced both her son and daughter as they too paid their respects at the accident scene Wednesday morning.
“It’s just everybody has got to stay safe, whether they are driving or on the bus. Just watching your kids go out the door. Just make sure tell them you love them,” she said as she broke down.
Knox said that speed was the cause of the wreck and alcohol was not a factor.