Fatal Wreck Takes Toll on N.C. Responders

An infant was the only survivor of the crash that killed four.


Feb. 18--A weekend wreck that killed four in Jacksonville also took a toll on first responders.

"The question most paramedics get is, 'What's the worst call you ever responded to?'," said Onslow County EMS Division Chief Beth Himes. "It's difficult to answer because you're going to remember any patient with a traumatic injury. We always hope for the best and expect the worst."

Saquan Nelson drove a white Hyundai more than 100 MPH through a red light at the intersection of U.S. 258 and N.C. 53 at approximately 5 p.m. Saturday, according to N.C. Highway Patrol. Nelson struck an SUV carrying Rachel Delisle, 30, of Jacksonville and her infant son -- who was the only survivor of the crash. Delisle, Nelson and his two passengers -- Darius Williams and Johnathan Cooper -- all died.

Sgt. Shannon Whaley of Highway Patrol said Monday it is unknown if any factor other than speed contributed to the wreck. A toxicology report has not yet been released.

"We're sending our prayers out to the families involved in this incident," Whaley said. "This took the lives of three young men and the life of a young mother and wife. It's a sad event for everyone involved."

According to Himes, Onslow County EMS personnel are encouraged to talk with superiors and colleagues about especially traumatic calls like the one the agency responded to on Saturday afternoon. Himes said it's a welcomed change from the way things used to be.

"Back in the old days, it was not OK to talk," Himes said. "You weren't allowed to tell people how you feel, but we've seen a change in that over the past 15 years. People need to have a vent, they need to have a person they know they can talk to."

Arrangements for Nelson, Williams and Cooper will be made at Dunn Funeral Home and Cremation Services in Burgaw.

Nelson had nine charges pending against him, including two speeding charges, driving while impaired and fleeing to allude arrest with a motor vehicle, according to court documents. Those charges were dropped Monday following his death, according to Onslow County District Attorney Ernie Lee.

Christopher Thomas is a staff writer for the Daily News. To contact him, send an e-mail to christopher.thomas@jdnews.com.

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