‘I was that guy’ says nurse who treated patients in deadly Shelby chase, crash

CLEVELAND COUNTY, N.C. — A registered nurse told Channel 9 he helped care for the people involved in a deadly crash in Shelby. He said afterward, he decided he had to see that crash scene for himself.

The young men were reportedly leading police on a chase when the truck they were in crashed into a house. Three of them -- Fabian Cosby, 20, Keandre Kirkland, 20, and Elijah Priester, 18 -- were killed, investigators told Channel 9. A fourth victim, a 19-year-old, is in critical condition.

Channel 9′s Tina Terry talked to the nurse at the crash site. Curtis Shade said he sees a lot each day, but he was so shaken by his interactions with the people in the truck that he had to go to the crash scene to see just how they were injured.


“I just wanted to get a little closure,” Shade said. “I saw these young men crying for their mothers. I saw these young men in a situation that had just happened, and I wanted to see what was the prelude up to what we saw going on in the ED last night.”

Shade said the patients arrived at his hospital early Sunday morning.

“Something I’ve never heard is when they called a Code Surge. Code Surge is all hands on deck,” he said.

Shade said he rushed from another part of the hospital to help. He won’t forget the things he saw and heard next.

“One individual was telling us about his motorcycle, his car,” he said. “We were just doing anything we could to keep him awake.”

Law enforcement officers said the group was inside a truck when someone inside that truck fired a gun at a car. They said the truck got into a chase with that car.

Eventually, deputies tried to get the truck to pull over, but at some point officers said they lost sight of the truck. By the time they found it, it had crashed.

“I was the one that would have been riding in that truck. I was the one that would have been out on a Saturday night looking for the fun, hanging with the boys,” Shade said. “I was that guy.”

Now, he’s the owner of Piedmont Healthcare Institute, an academy that trains people to become Certified Nursing Assistants. He hopes to reach young people in this community with a message of hope.

“As long as you are still living and breathing, you have hope you can turn it around,” he said. “No one gave up on me when I gave up on myself.”

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