Family, friends to say goodbye to volunteer firefighter killed in crash

ROWAN COUNTY, N.C. — Family and friends will say goodbye to a volunteer firefighter who was killed in a crash in Rowan County Wednesday afternoon.

The visitation for Michael Goodnight will begin at 11 a.m. Monday and the memorial service will be held at 1 p.m. the same afternoon.

Both the visitation and memorial service will be held at the west Liberty Fire Department on St. Matthews Church Road in Salisbury.

There was a procession for Goodnight Friday afternoon to escort his body back to Rowan County from the medical examiner's office in Raleigh.

Troopers said Goodnight was killed in an accident in Rowan County Wednesday. He was a volunteer firefighter with the Liberty Fire Department.

Channel 9 spoke with Goodnight’s sister who said being a firefighter was his dream.

“Playing with fire trucks and going to fires, he’s always wanted to be a fireman,” Goodnight’s sister Judy Burris said.

“He was so good,” Burris said. “He died at what he loved doing.”

Investigators said that Goodnight was responding to an accident call in his truck when he hit another car on Gold Knob Road near Park Drive.

Troopers said two women, Penny Carter and Sarah Alziad, were in the other car heading to a picnic at a nearby home. They were airlifted to Wake Forest Baptist hospital with serious injuries.

Carter's husband, Brad Stokes, said both women are still recovering.

"Both hurting, got a lot of healing to do," Stokes said.

Goodnight's sister apologized to the victims.

"My sympathy goes out to the family that was in the other vehicle. I sincerely apologize for what happened," Burris said. "I know he didn't do that intentionally, I can tell you because he was there to save lives not take lives."

Stokes said he's still coming to terms with what happened.

"A basket of mixed emotions, frustration, anger, the fact that I almost watched my wife die in front of me," Stokes said.

Goodnight was with the department for about two years. He was a husband and a father.

Troopers said Goodnight was not wearing a seatbelt at the time of the crash and was partially thrown from his truck.

Channel 9 spoke with the neighbor who called 911. Tina Hiatt said she was inside her home when she heard a big 'boom.'

"We called 911, everybody called 911," Hiatt said. "It was terrible. I don't know what happened or what caused the wreck or whatever but it was awful. We went to the car and she was still breathing."

The Liberty Fire Department said flags will be flown at half-staff in Goodnight's honor. They're asking other departments to do the same.

Investigators said there will be no charges in the crash because Goodnight was at fault.

His funeral will be held Monday, July 9 at West Liberty Fire Department on Saint Matthews Church Road in Salisbury.

The visitation will begin at 11 a.m. and the memorial service will begin at 1 p.m.

Goodnight is the second area volunteer firefighter to be killed in the line of duty in the past few weeks.

['He was doing what he loved to do:' Stanly County volunteer firefighter laid to rest]

In June 17-year-old Dakota Snavely was killed in a crash in Stanly County. He was on his way to help rescue someone who might have been drowning.

Snavely died when he crashed into a tractor-trailer that overturned in front of him.

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