Wreck kills man, hurts wife

Two vehicles collide, causing one to spin and roll over at a hazardous intersection

Staff WriterNovember 26, 2005 

One family's holiday season began with a tragic end Friday afternoon when two vehicles collided, killing a Fuquay-Varina man, sending his wife to the hospital and leaving a teenage driver shaken on the side of the road.

Shortly after 4 p.m. Friday a white Hyundai Elantra headed east on Wagstaff Road struck the side of a silvery blue Mercury Mountaineer SUV headed north on Barefoot Road. The impact forced the SUV into an spin before the it rolled over and landed on its roof and hood. At least one person riding in the SUV was believed to have been ejected from the vehicle, authorities said.

Richard Robins Garner, 65 , a passenger in the SUV, was pronounced dead at the scene. Garner's wife, Margaret Elliott Garner, 69, who was driving, was flown to UNC Hospitals in Chapel Hill with non-life-threatening injuries. The other driver, Caressa Kay Byrd, 19, and her 17-month-old son, Debontay Lee Goldston, were uninjured.

Byrd is believed to have failed to yield at a stop sign on Wagstaff Road, said State Highway Patrol Trooper C. Davis.

Byrd, who told Davis she lives in Angier, was charged with misdemeanor death by motor vehicle and released from the Wake County jail into her mother's custody late Friday.

Area residents said that drivers often move straight through intersection of Wagstaff and Barefoot roads. The intersection, just south of town, has no street lights -- only a pair of stop signs on Wagstaff Road.

"I've been standing out here in the yard and seen cars fly through here at 65, maybe 70 miles per hour," said Leon Byrd, who lives on Wagstaff Road. Byrd, who is not related to the driver in the accident, said he has seen at least three other accidents there in the six years he has lived in the area.

After Friday's accident, Caressa Kay Byrd and her family, who declined to comment, stood between a fire engine and a trooper's patrol car, unable to see Garner's body or much of the accident scene. The young driver, unaware of the fatality, wept openly into a man's chest as her mother talked with a state trooper a few feet away.

Staff Writer Janell Ross can be reached at 829-4698 or jross@newsobserver.com.

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