Franklin man killed in N.C. wreck

Published 9:20 am Wednesday, August 4, 2010

COMO, N.C.—Debbie Jeter’s 24-year-old son, Joshua Ryan Padelt, was killed in an accident Friday night less than 2 miles from her Southampton County home.

But she wasn’t notified of the accident until about eight hours later.

“None of it makes sense,” Jeter said Monday. “I could’ve been there instantly.”

According to a report filed by North Carolina Highway Patrol Trooper J. G. Williams, Padelt was driving a 1999 Acura car on Route 258 north of Como, N.C., at about 9:30 p.m. Padelt lost control of the vehicle on a curve, causing the car to cross the center line, hit a tree and overturn.

Padelt was reportedly not wearing a seat belt and was thrown from the vehicle. He died at the scene.

Troopers said excessive speed didn’t appear to be a factor in the crash, but alcohol might have been.

Sgt. R.W. Sawyer of the North Carolina Highway Patrol said troopers are not permitted to cross state lines, but Southampton County deputies were notified as soon as Padelt was identified. Deputies said troopers attempted to notify Jeter Friday night but weren’t able to reach her until after 5 a.m. Saturday.

Sawyer said troopers handle fatal accidents all the time and don’t take them lightly.

“Every good-faith effort was made,” he said.

Another sticking point for Jeter is why it took rescue crews so long to get to the scene. A woman who lives near the accident scene told Jeter she called 911 three times before anyone responded.

“They were on standby for the Watermelon Festival, and for them to take so long to get there, it doesn’t make any sense,” she said.

The accident occurred on a dangerous section of Route 258, according to Jeter.

“This is a bad curve, and it’s not the first time somebody’s been killed or had accidents out there,” she said.

Jeter said she is going to miss her son “terribly.”

“I just hope and pray he didn’t suffer,” she said.