‘Rough couple of days’: Sons of two Iredell County first responders die in off-road incidents 24 hours apart

One involved an ATV and the other was an accident on a dirt bike
‘Rough couple of days’: Iredell County mourns deaths of children of deputy, fire chief to off-road accidents
Published: Dec. 28, 2021 at 5:05 PM EST
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IREDELL COUNTY, N.C. (WBTV) – The Iredell County community is mourning the death of two children, kids of local first responders.

Over the holiday weekend, two children were killed in two separate accidents. One involved an ATV and the other was an accident on a dirt bike.

One of the boys is the son of an Iredell County Sheriff’s Deputy, while the other is the son of a Fire Chief in Iredell County.

Both died in off-road accidents less than a day apart.

“It’s been a rough couple of days,” said Iredell County Sheriff Darren Campbell.

Campbell told WBTV he can’t imagine what his deputy is going through, along with the pain of a local firehouse.

“It would be an unbelievable set of circumstances the families would have to deal with,” Campbell said.

On Sunday, the son of a Lieutenant for the Sheriff’s Office died while he was riding a dirt bike on private property in the northern part of Iredell County when he lost control and hit a fence. He was just 11 years old.

“The one Sunday was a skilled rider, just a tragic, tragic accident,” Campbell said.

Then, 24 hours later, and a few miles away, fire crews were called out to a second off-road vehicle accident.

This one claimed the life of a 15-year-old son of the Troutman Fire Chief.

The department declined to talk about the incident.

“But when we deal with incidents like this involving children, it’s tough,” Campbell said.

And what about the emergency crews, the ones who have to respond to incidents like this. Who sees the unthinkable. How do they deal with the stress and strain of what they’ve experienced?

“We’re still monitoring the well-being of our members right now as we deal with this incident,” said Matt Mcalpin, who has been a firefighter at Ebeneezer Fire Station for decades.

Mcalpin says there are counseling programs he can put his crews through to help them deal with traumatic experiences like the dirt bike incident on Sunday they responded to.

“Within hours we sent our folks to a critical stress debriefing,” McAlpin said.

McAlpin says the scene involving a child was so difficult to witness, he immediately got the ball rolling so his crews could get the mental health service they needed to cope with what they saw.

“We don’t want to send anybody home to deal with this on their own. You’re not alone,” Mcalpin.

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