LINCOLN COUNTY, N.C. — A mother of two was driving her children to school Tuesday morning when she died in a wreck on Highway 150 in Lincoln County, troopers said.
The woman, who friends identified as Kandace Helms, was driving a minivan carrying her two boys, ages 2 and 7, when a truck crossed the center line and crashed head-on into her van just before 8 a.m., officials said.
Officials said the truck driver, David Boyd, told them he swerved to avoid a deer, but witnesses told troopers that they did not see one.
Officials charged Boyd with misdemeanor death by motor vehicle and driving left of center.
Reporter Dave Faherty interviewed a driver who was struck by the truck before the deadly crash with the minivan.
"I swerved out of the way to give me room to correct to get out of his (truck driver’s) way over in the shoulder, and he still nicked the back of me and drove straight on into the van behind me," James Miner said.
Friends of the family told Channel 9 that Helms volunteered at her child's school and was driving there when the wreck happened.
A state trooper at the scene told Faherty it was the worst wreck he's seen in the past 10 years.
State troopers said Helms' children would have been injured much worse, but she had them properly restrained in safety seats. Both boys have been treated and released from the hospital.
“It's a sad day,” said trooper Josh Craig. “It's never easy doing this. It's rough when you see little kids who lost their mother."
Friends of Helms stopped by the crash scene Tuesday and said she often volunteered at her child's elementary school near the Pumpkin Center.
"I just can't imagine the horror,” neighbor Ramona Curtis said. “Because they're the age of my grandkids, and I just can't imagine anything like that happening. It was just horrible."
Friends and family held a service Tuesday night at Boger City Baptist Church to mourn Helms.
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Cox Media Group