“I could have died.”
Those four words spoken by Dillion Parker were enough to get and keep the undivided attention of Tarboro High School's driver’s education class Thursday. The 23-year-old former Tarboro High School graduate shared his near-death experience when he was in a horrific car accident on Aug. 4, 2010 in Johnston County. Parkers’ message showed the soon-to-be new drivers the reality of what could happen if they do not abide by driving laws.
Parker and his friends had been drinking that night when they decided to go to Johnston County. Somewhere along I-95, while traveling an estimated 85 mph and texting, he lost control on a curve and crashed into a tree on the driver’s side of the vehicle.
"Drinking and driving is not good. Texting and driving is not good. Speeding is not good. I was doing all three," Parker told the class.
"I don't remember (to this day) whether I was driving or not. I heard them on them on the 911 tape saying, 'It looks like he is dying."
Parker suffered a broken neck, broken ribs, broken tailbone, fractured back and a ruptured bladder. Even the doctors thought he would not survive until the next day.
"They told my parents that I had no chance of survival."
Two state troopers delivered the news of Parkers' accident to his mother, Melanie Bearden. It was one of the most horrifying messages she said she had ever received. Bearden also attended the class.
"We had to drive one hour not knowing whether Dillion was alive or was he going to make it," Bearden said. "Once we got there, the first person we saw was the chaplain. You know that wasn't good news.
"The doctors told us that it was a 95 percent chance he would not make it to the next day. He made it."
Parker defied the odds of surviving, but the doctors' diagnosis still wasn't favorable. They told his family that if he survived, he would be a quadriplegic and would use a breathing tube the remainder of his life.
After hearing the bad news, hundreds of Parker's friends gathered at the hospital and prayed for their comrade.
Parker said he doesn't remember too much of anything that happened that night. He spent 23 days in ICU. When he began gaining his senses back, "I thought it was a bad dream he said." His mother told him the circumstances surrounding the accident.
As days went by, he began piece his memory together and his feeble body began to heal.
Today, Parker is using his horrific experience to tell whomever will listen he importance of obeying laws on the roadway.
"I'm telling you, don't drink and drive and don't text and drive," he told the class. "I promise you, that text can wait. It's not worth it. I'm blessed to be alive. and not only alive, (but) not to be paralyzed."
With the exception of a scar on the back of his neck, Parker appears to be the picture of good health, although he doesn't the mobility to turn his head and he is deaf in one ear.
The students were in awe when Parker completed telling his story.
Graft Wilson, 16, said, "It is incredible to meet someone who has been through something like that and he is using it to tell others about it, so that they will not be caught up doing the same things. He was given a second chance and he is not wasting it."
Daniel Lucas, 14, said "This has changed me. I will never drink and drive."
Jaylen Pettway said, "It scared me so bad that I don't know whether I want to drive or not. It will definitely make me think twice."
“I could have died.”
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Two suspects arrested on 36 charges; third issued citation
After executing a search warrant Thursday on a residence at 500 W. Johnston St. in Tarboro, police officers arrested two suspects for possessing a small amount of marijuana and issued a third suspect a citation for possessing a glass pipe to smoke the drugs.
After the marijuana was found, officers notified two of the three suspects that they also had additional warrants on them from the department's "Spring Fling" drug campaign where they had sold marijuana to undercover officers.
Introductory Latin class beginning Tuesday
Want a leg up in a medical terminology course? Anatomy? Physical science? Take a look at Latin, perhaps the best grounding for all education.
Not convinced? Just ask Stephen Herring, instructor of religion, geography, and developmental studies at Edgecombe Community College (ECC). He will teach an Introductory Latin class beginning Tuesday. The class will meet at Fleming 218 on the Tarboro campus.
NTSB wants to lower DWI blood alcohol levels
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has released a bold set of targeted interventions to put the United States on course to eliminate alcohol-impaired related crashes. They have given recommendations that call for stronger laws, swifter enforcement and expanded use of technology.
Measles cases have state health officials concerned
Twenty-three cases of the measles have been reported in North Carolina in a recent outbreak and has state health officials concerned.
“It (measles) is a highly contagious disease that is spread in the air by coughing and sneezing,” said Susan Rogerson, nursing director at the Edgecombe County Health Department. Outbreaks of measles in the United States are rare because of the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine.
County still looking for bids on 41 properties
While county commissioners have accepted bids on seven foreclosure properties, a total of 41 others remain available for interested parties to submit bids.
County Planning Director Brian Hassell said interested parties may submit bids for commissioners to consider. If a bid is approved and another party is interested, they may submit an upset bid.
Scouts honor ‘Buddy’ Hooks
Try as he might, master of ceremonies Dave Sharpe was unable to talk someone into telling an unexpected story on Ellis “Buddy” Hooks as Hooks was recognized as the 2013 Edgecombe County Distinguished Citizen Award recipient by the Boy Scouts of America.
Sheriff's Department to host junior academy
The Edgecombe County Sheriff's Department will be hosting a junior academy for students ages 13-18 years old. Sheriff James Knight believes that this is the most important times of a juvenile's life and wants them to learn about the criminal justice system.
Andrews assumes new position at ECPS Central Services
John Farrelly, Superintendent of Edgecombe County Public Schools (ECPS), announced this week that Shawna Andrews has been named the Director of Middle Schools and Title I in the Educational Program Services Office at Central Services.
Andrews, who most recently served as the Director of Elementary Schools and Title I, began her tenure with ECPS in 1995 as a math and science teacher at C.B. Martin Middle School. Following her completion of a Master’s in School Administration, she served as an administrative intern at G.W. Bulluck Elementary, SouthWest Edgecombe High School and Tarboro High School before being named an assistant principal at Tarboro High School in 2003.
Big ‘Happening’ set for Tarboro Saturday
At no time of the year is Tarboro’s Town Common more bustling with activity than the second Saturday in May. It’s that time of year again and the 43rd Annual Happening on the Common is set for 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. on Saturday.
“I think we’ve got a good day coming up,” said Carol Banks, event coordinator for the Edgecombe County Cultural Arts Council. “We’ve got record-breaking (number of) vendors. So far we’re up to 56.”
Pinetops 300 kicks into gear this weekend
One of the biggest community events in the southern part of Edgecombe County – the Pinetops 300 – is set for Friday and Saturday at its usual spot – 309 School St. at the ballpark in Pinetops. The truck and tractor pull, South Edgecombe Rural Fire Department’s fundraiser of the year, is a longstanding tradition.
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