2 dead, 12 injured after church van hits deer, slams into 2 vehicles in NC

2 dead, 12 injured after church van hits deer, slams into 2 vehicles in NC
(Source: CBS North Carolina)

ROLESVILLE, N.C. (WNCN) - Two people are dead and 12 others seriously hurt after a church van hit a deer and then slammed into two other vehicles on Sunday afternoon in Wake County, officials said.

The incident was reported around 5:30 p.m. near the intersection of Barham Siding and Zebulon roads, according to Wake County Sheriff Donnie Harrison.

The North Carolina State Highway Patrol said that two people were dead. Harrison initially said that "several" people were dead.

Eleven people were taken to area hospitals following the crash.

According to authorities, the church van was headed south on N.C. 96 when the van hit a deer. The impact caused the driver to lose control, cross the center line and side-swiped a minivan. The church van continued down the road and hit an SUV head-on and then flipped.

Parts of a dead deer were found in the road at the accident site, troopers told CBS 17.

The church van involved was from First Missionary Baptist Church in Smithfield.

According to troopers, the SUV, driven by Deborah Powell, 62, of Roxboro, ran off the road and became submerged in water after being hit by the church van. Powell was pronounced dead at the scene.

In addition to Powell, William Henderson Clayton, 84, was also pronounced dead at the scene. Clayton was in the church van, authorities said.

Six passengers in the church van were seriously injured and transported to WakeMed and another six were taken to Duke Medical Center in serious condition. The driver of the church van, Edward Lee Barfield, was taken by LifeFlight to WakeMed in critical condition.

A woman named Lela Carroll in Smithfield said her cousin Ed Barfield typically drives the church van.

Carroll said she believes the van was headed on a mission trip Sunday when the wreck happened.

She said Sunday evening that she had not heard from her cousin.

"I would like to say I am so sorry and I'm hoping and praying for them because I know with family when something like that happens it hurts and I'm gonna be praying for them," Carroll said.

Carroll said Monday that Barfield had been released from the hospital and "he's mostly OK."

The area where the crash happened is east of Rolesville in Wake County.

Authorities said charges are possible and will be discussed with the Wake County District Attorney's Office.