Two people died when a church van hit a deer, crashed into another vehicle head-on on N.C. 96 late Sunday afternoon, the State Highway Patrol said Monday.
First Sgt. Michael Baker, a highway patrol spokesman, said the van from the First Missionary Baptist Church of Smithfield was southbound on the road near U.S. 401 when it hit the deer.
The van went out of control, sideswiped a Toyota minivan and collided head-on with a Dodge sport utility vehicle that was going in the opposite direction, troopers said.
The SUV went into a pond, Baker said.
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Those killed were Deborah Powell, 62, of Roxboro, who was driving an SUV going north, and 84-year-old William Henderson Clayton, a passenger in the van.
The van's driver, Edward Lee Barfield, 62, of Smithfield, was flown to WakeMed Hospital in Raleigh by helicopter and was considered to be in critical condition then, Baker said. WakeMed officials said Monday that he had been discharged, however.
Ambulances took five van passengers to WakeMed and six to Duke University Hospital in Durham, the highway patrol said.
All were in serious condition at the time.
The accident happened about 5:30 p.m. Sunday.
Emergency responder radio traffic indicated at 5:38 p.m. that multiple people were trapped in the overturned van.
Shortly before 6 p.m., local emergency responders requested additional rescue resources from Franklin, Johnston and Nash counties.
ABC11 helicopter footage showed the van on its side with the top cut off after rescue operations Sunday evening.