SPENCER, N.C. – Ten-year-old Charles Patrick is the lone survivor to walk away from a horrific crash that killed five people, including two children, Friday night in Spencer – but he may have saved another child’s life shortly after the accident.
Spencer police said nine people were in Angela Dunlap’s GMC Envoy when it veered off South Rowan Avenue around 8:15 p.m., hit a tree, and caught fire.
Dunlap, 28, and her daughter Daja, 10, were killed. Also killed were Sean Javan Jacobs, 25; Karizma Sexton, 4, who was the daughter of Jacobs’s fiancée; and Vincent McNeal, 45.
Dunlap’s three other children Taliah Williams, 8; and twins Davion and Javion Williams, 6; were airlifted to Brenner’s Children’s Hospital in Winston-Salem. Saturday night, Taliah and Javion were in critical condition and Davion was in fair condition.
Police are still investigating the cause of the crash.
Charles’s mother, Bertha Jones, is both grateful he survived and grieving for her brother and nephew – Sean and Vincent – who were killed in the crash.
"I thank God every minute that He blessed my son to make it," she said, holding Charles close. "I just thank God every day, every minutes for allowing him to have his life."
Charles’s brother Antwan Jones, 35, said Charles is always the brave one in the family. The youngster was born with a bone disorder that stunted his growth, but he never complains.
“Ever since the time he was born, he's the one who don't want you to help him,” said Antwan. “If anything, he wants to help you.”
Which is why, Antwan said, it doesn’t surprise him that Charles opened a door on the wrecked car and pulled his young friend Davion out. Antwan said Charles went back for the others, but was stopped by flames after the car caught fire.
“He don't call himself a hero,” said Antwan. “That's just what’s instilled in us. He knows what to do and by the grace of God.”
“I am just so proud of him, so proud of him.. you don't know how proud I am of him,” echoed his mother.
A friend of the family said Dunlap was headed to her brother’s house before the crash. She was just blocks away from her own home when her car went off the road.
Dunlap’s friend Jessica Vinson grieved at the roadside memorial of flowers and stuffed animals Saturday afternoon. She said she had just made dinner plans with Dunlap before the crash.
"I woke up and got on Facebook and the first thing I see is, ‘Rest in peace Angela Dunlap’ and I'm like, 'No, that's not true, what happened, what's going on?’ " she said. "I just want to wake up from this bad dream right now because it got me all messed up"
Spencer police said it appears only one person – Jacobs – was wearing a seat belt. There were no children’s car seats in the car even though there were three children under the age of 8, who are required to sit in booster seats by North Carolina law.