SPRING LAKE, N.C. (WNCN) — Brian and Patricia Finch were visiting friends in Harnett County when they tragically lost their lives in this vehicle collision earlier this month.
A Harnett County sheriff’s deputy slammed into the couple’s truck at the intersection of N.C. 210 and Ray Road in Spring Lake on March 3.
According to the sheriff’s office, the deputy was trying to make a traffic stop on another vehicle. A car was seen speeding just before the Finches entered the intersection.
The sheriff’s office’s pursuit policy states deputies when in pursuit of a suspect and provided there is no unreasonable risk to persons and property can go through a red or stop signal — but only after slowing down as may be necessary for safe operation.
The policy also says that blue lights and sirens have to be on if the deputy does that.
“If it is found he didn’t follow protocol, I think he should be held accountable just like everybody else should,” said Sarah Pitkin, a Harnett County woman.
On Tuesday evening, the Harnett County community came together for a candlelight vigil for the Minnesota couple.
“Just to honor the family and show that we care,” Linda Sunderman, candlelight vigil organizer said.
Pitkin shared words she said a family member sent her. The family’s message said the couple was just beginning to enjoy retirement, traveling and spending time together and with children and grandchildren.
“The outpouring of love from a community that never had the blessing of knowing them means so much to the entire family and friends,” Pitkin said reading the message.
The crash has been weighing on Maurice Doby’s mind. He and his 10-year-old son drove through the intersection right after the crash.
“When we were sitting there on the side of the road waiting to go, I told him, I said, this is the time that we need to pray because that could’ve been us, that could’ve been somebody else’s family,” Doby said.
North Carolina Highway Patrol is continuing to investigate this case.