North Raleigh News

Former Wake Forest High football player killed in Christmas Eve accident

A former Wake Forest High School running back was killed in a two-car accident on Capital Boulevard on Christmas Eve.

Ashanie Russell, 19, graduated from Wake Forest High School in 2013 and was attending East Carolina University to study engineering and business, his former coach Reggie Lucas said.

Lucas last saw Russell when Wake Forest was in the state playoffs in November. Lucas said Russell made it a point to come visit the school every time he was home from ECU.

Russell played as a Wake Forest Cougar all four years of high school. He wasn’t a starter, but that seemed to be OK, Lucas said.

“He was one of those players that you love to have on the team because he’ll do anything for you,” he said.

Raleigh Police Department spokesman Jim Sughrue said Russell’s sister, Aaleyah Samantha Russell, 18, was driving a 2002 GMC SUV south on Capital Boulevard on Wednesday afternoon with Michael Kevon Gregory, 14, and Ashanie Russell.

She lost control of her vehicle and crossed a grass median into the northbound lanes, Sughrue said. The right side of Russell’s vehicle struck the front of a 2008 Ford pickup truck that Gregory Madison Adams, 43, was driving northbound on Capital Boulevard, just north of I-540 near Simms Creek Road. Colton Foster, 8, was a passenger in Adams’ truck.

Ashanie Russell was pronounced dead at the scene. Adams and Michael were taken to WakeMed in Raleigh with life-threatening injuries, Aaleyah Samantha Russell and Colton with serious injuries.

On Thursday afternoon, Colton was in critical condition. Michael was in critical condition. Adams was in fair condition, and Aaleyah Russell was in good condition.

Preliminary findings indicate weather-related road conditions were a factor in the collision, Sughrue said, but the investigation was still underway.