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Police identify crash victims, say none had seat belts on

READ MORE: Police identify crash victims, say none had seat belts on
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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- Several families are mourning tonight after a car crash killed three people last night in Wilmington. It happened at 10:22 p.m. in the Forest Hills neighborhood. Investigators say a SUV with four people slammed into a tree.

The driver, Raphael Samuel, 22, of Wilmington, and and two passengers, Shatia Hankins, 25 of Wilmington, and Yashica White, 22, of Leland, died. A fourth passenger, 30-year-old Demond Jones, of Wilmington, survived.

Alongside debris from the crash, Tuesday friends dropped off flowers.

"Life is too short," said Cornelius Nixon, a friend of Samuel. "That's all I can say, man. You see a person here, and then they're gone the next day... Life is too short man."

Several residents is Forest Hills say the impact was so bad that it felt like the suv had actually hit their home.

Wilmington police say Hankins and White died at the scene. Jones and Samuel were taken to the hospital, where Samuel died.

"Like I said, he's a good friend. That's all I can say about him. He was a good friend," Nixon said.

The cause of the crash is still being looked into. Police say a WPD officer spotted the vehicle driving without lights just moments before the crash. That officer then turned around to follow the SUV, keeping his lights and siren off. Detectives say the vehicle took off, and moments later the officer found the SUV smashed against this tree.

Police say none of the people in the SUV had their seat belt on at the time of the crash.

Disclaimer: Comments posted on this, or any story are opinions of those people posting them, and not the views or opinions of WWAY NewsChannel 3, its management or employees. You can view our comment policy here.

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Ralph Samuel was a close

Ralph Samuel was a close cousin of mine , and his pass had nothing to do with his life at the time of his death. Not one of those posted stated that he paid his debt to society and the he was enrolled at cape fear community college,loved his family, he was at the point were he turned his life around completely.

Someday we will all stand

Someday we will all stand before the King and he will judge us according to the things we have done in this life. If you are judging now, you will be judged later. It may not be today, or tommorrow, may even be years from now, but everyone will be judged for the things they have said about the ppl who have lost their lives and who knows, it could and may happen to someone you love! God bless you all and may he have mercy on us!!!

SUV VS One Large Live Oak Tree

The Tree Won..
While My sincere Condolances goes out to the Childern and Parent(s) AND Family(s) of these Now, lost Souls...
I have to ask Myself a few questions..
1. WHY were these *ADULTS* riding in Forest Hills,Before entering A Mostly upper-middle class Neighborhood, in a SUV with thier Lights OUT?(before going into the Area?)
2. 1 of these Lost Souls were from LELAND?What were they doing in Forest hills? Going to see Grand-Ma? A sick friend? Or were they making a "delivery", Or were they "casing" the area(s) , in Forest Hills??....
3. Time in question, 10:22 PM at night? Driving with-out NO Lights on Wrightsville Ave.?(IN Addition; NOT WEARING SEATBELTS?! (they *save* lives ya know!).
4.Is it *true* that drug(s) was/were, recovered in/from the SUV? If there is truth to this, what were they, what kind & Amount?
5. Is the "Officer" to blame? *NO*, as he observed a "saftey violation", turned around, and started to follow the SUV, (then possibly pull, then ticket or "WARN" the driver, IF they happened to, for example, LIVED in the area; forgetting to turn their lights on before proceding to their "destination"?)(full discloser, I myself, have done this before once or twice on well lit streets at night, haven't any of you?)
6. We have the Officer turn around,(this is a "divided road" area of Forst hills I assume?) gets "spotted" by the driver & passenger(s), as He, the officer, turns around and begins approching from behind, and BEFORE He can stop the SUV, or even begin turning on His lights/Sirens, the SUV takes off, at a high rate of speed, hitting 80MPH ,in a very short length of time,before running over a "speed Bump", causing the driver to lose control of the SUV, running it into a Huge Live Oak tree, and LOSING.
7. These were, NO KIDS,(ages 22 ~ 30);NOT out just for a "Joy-ride", these were GROWN Men and Young Ladies,(One from Leland?!),Also as some mentioned,Convicted of crimes, you know like; Breaking the Law?,, not just with petty crimes, but very serious ones, some were FELONIES! , "cruising" w/out lights on Wrightsville Ave, then turning on into a Upper-middle class neighborhood, whom then; upon "spotting" Leo, observing Him turn around, flooring the gas at that moment,they, themselves, sealed thier own fate..... Paying, (3 of them), with thier lives...

So lets play, Devil's Advocate here. Going back in time, Officer never sees the SUV, wreck/accident, never happens.

Next day; We read about another series of "car B & E's" in the area, or a Home Invasion, or,

    NOTHING at all, everyone arriving home safe and sound, that the driver did honestly forget to turn-on His lights at/around Writsville Ave? AND was visiting a friend?

Or were they, "up to no good?", which, honestly, I'm leaning towards that Idea;As the Driver attempted to evade/elude the Officer in a attempt to "get away", or from being pulled over.

Or was the driver "drinking", or on Drugs, Or were they;(the passenger(s), "smoking a Blunt"? Or "afraid" Of *Po-Po*,Having run-ins with LEO previously, being the wrong color skin,late in the evening, in a up-scale neighborhood driving around with His lights out, then turning them on, Whoops? I forgot? And panicked, flooring the gas on the SUV to a high rate of speed,

    ( In addition to NOT even seeing the speed Bumps)

hopeing, to; "get away" from LEO?? Leading up to the Ending & the Events that didn't really have to happen.

These and other question(s), that need to be asked, and Hopefully in time, we'll have answer(s) to. Giving the Families "closure", In addition to giving the General public "answers", as to Why this senseless tragedy happened,to begin with; while to hopefully NOT to have another one like this happen again...

We'll know as soon as the toxicology report comes back, even though ****Dead Men Tell No Tales**** ; We still have ONE Passenger that was in the SUV that is still alive,

    (that GOD Decided it wasn't HIS time yet, thankfully)

,maybe He will HELP in the Final investagtion, IF HE Decides to THRUTHFULLYtell what happened,He will give a timeline of events, AND what was happening in the SUV at the time and WHY they were in the area(s) driving w/out lights),Completing this investagtion; leading up to this Tragedy.

Again My Sincere Condolances to the Families of the People related to the Deceased

TUNNEL VISION!!!!

NOT TO BE A BE FUNNY BUT I JUST WANNA ASK? WHAT IS THE DEAL WITH BLACK PEOPLE RIDING THRU MID-CLASS AREAS THEY ARE UP TO NO GOOD? DIDNT TREYVON MARTIN DIE IN VEIN CAUSE THIS HISPANIC MAN KILLS HIM FOR WALKING AROUND IN HIS OWN AREA. WHERE IS THE RIGHT IN THAT. WHY WHEN 4 BLACK PEOPLE ARE IN A CAR THEY HAVE TO BE CASING OR UP TO KNOW GOOD. I RIDE THROUGH THERE HONESTLY CAUSE MY SIS STAY IN FOREST HILLS APT. AND I WISH!!!!! SUMBODY RUN UP ON ME TALKIN RECKLACE LIKE THEY DID TREYVON MARTIN. IM A GROWN ADULT THAT LIVES ON MY OWN TAKIN CARE OF MY KIDS AND I DRIVE OR WALK WHERE I PLEASE. NOT TO MENTION I WORK TWO JOBS AND CUT GRASS ON THE SIDE. I PAY MY TAXES AND I DID SUM TIME. MY BROTHER WAS DRIVING THAT CAR AND HE THE SAME BREED AS ME. SAME MAMA. SO I FEEL LIKE PEOPLE HAVE THERE ONE WAY OF LOOKING AT THINGS AND ITS GONE HUNT YOU IN THE END. I LOOK TO GOD FOR GUIDINCE AND LUV THROUGH IT ALL HE HELP ME AND MY BROTHER UNTIL IT WAS TIME FOR HIM TO GO. JUST LIKE SUM OF YALL HAVE A FAMILY MEMBER WHO MADE SUM BAD CHOICES IN THE PAST THAT YOUR FAMILY STILL TO THIS DAY IS PAYING FOR AND YOU KNOW IT, AINT NOBODY PERFECT. SO R.I.P TO MY ROTHER AND THE YOUNG LADIES IN THE CAR, AND BRA THATS STILL LIVING, HE GONE BE ALRIGHT WHEN HE GET HIS MIND TOGETHER LIFE IS CONSTINTLY CHANGING. KEEP YOUR MINDS OPEN, BUT KNOW RIGHT FROM WRONGE. AND R.I.P TREYVON MARTIN!!!

Time for action not stone throwing

I understand that this is and should be a very emotion stirring event, but the underlying issue is being missed entirely. The parents and loved ones of the victims as well as the residents of the community should be upset, this is reasonable in everyway. However, the problem is that our kids (our community) are all at risk for hardships if we don't quit dividing. None should judge, rather try to understand and educate yourselves on the reasons behind these strong emotions. These emotions, brought out by feelings of hopelessness should be motivating all of us to do better. If you feel criminal activity and drugs are the cause for this tragedy and risk for further danger, you are so right. So do something about it! Action speaks! Ask yourself why? How can I help? Where are we as a community weak and how can we strengthen? What could I have done to save a life or save other lives? Hello??? We have a rising drug problem in Wilmington! Get off your computer and go make a difference! Join with the "other" side. Offer your help and understanding. Words and money do very little without action! If you know someone that is in trouble, teach them, don't judge them and don't make it excuses for yourselves either. These things don't help. Been there done that! It's time for us to recognize our division and how it effects all of us. Would you help your brother if he needed you? I know I would.

-A mother of four and resident of Forest Hills

A Great father,friend,brother,son

Yes Demond Jones have made mistakes in the past,.alot of us have.It doesnt change the fact that he changed his life after serving his prison sentence.He has beautiful kids and hes a great father to them.He has a heart of gold and loves .everyone. I didnt know the other people in the car but if they were friends with Demond then you can count on them being good.people too.My condolenses go out to all the families and I pray god give you the strength to get pass this.Demond get well your family needs you love and RIP to all the angels that were called home.

You are wrong as well

Criminal acts are not mistakes but active conscious choices. Just because they are now dead doesn't make them saints. It just makes them dead criminals.

Disgusted

I cannot believe some of the posts on here. I know Yashica's family very well and they are really christian people. They lost their daughter. Children have lost their mother. Have compassion for these families that have been left behind. All you posters that are posting negative things should stop. You never know what the next minute may bring and you could get that knock on the door that could change your life forever.

Terrible to see a tree skinned up like that

That tree really took a hit. I wonder if anything can be done to help it recover? Does the city have a tree surgeon on staff? Will the vehicle's liability insurance pay for care or replacement of the tree?

IIRC my grandaddy used to put white paint on a skinned up tree to help it heel

Let those without sin cast the first stone..

WHO ARE ANY OF YA'LL TO JUDGE?! If you did not know these people personally then you should not speak about them... PERIOD!

To the people who are on

To the people who are on here talking negatively about people who are deceased and judging them as well. I come right now to lift up a heavenly prayer for it is never okay to do such. Father right now I come to you in prayer for the lives that are lost, they can't rest in peace because of the negativity that is posted on this page. Father God I would like to pray for the souls that are on here talking negatively about the lives that were taken. Let them understand that it was your will despite what they may feel. Lord let them know that judging is a sin, the only one who is able to judge and that is you God.(Matthew 7 verse 1, Luke 6 verse 37, John 8 verse 7) Lord touch their hearts to let them know that they are not perfect Lord and that it is a praying time, not a time to be negative. Lord that if we as a people can join together and agree that yes they should have been wearing sets belts, that yes they should not have been speeding, and yes that they may have been out doing what they were not supposed to that their family IS NOT at fault for their actions and that they were loved as well and leave behind a family that is missing them as well as hurting. Death of a family member is never easy Lord so let their hearts be softened, let the hate and negativity cease because it fixes nothing Lord. God please forgive the negative people for it is clear they don't have the love of Jesus. Father God my heart is crying out to you for change, because this is not your will. God I pray in Jesus name amen. Think about the things you say and do because they can really hurt. And I'm pretty sure the families are going through enough hurt as is, they could really go without coming on here and seeing the negativity and evilness. Devil I rebuke you in the name of Jesus.

To all the people who were

To all the people who were so concerned with their records GET A LIfE! For real loses their life and you are concerned about their past records. seriously everyone makes misteaks even the ones pointing their fingers and turning up their noses. You arent god so fortunatly your feelings dont matter. Thanks god! remember you will be judged too! I wonder what they will say about you!

Thanks for playing

But you are wrong. Criminal acts are not mistakes but active conscious choices. Just because they are now dead doesn't make them saints. It just makes them dead criminals.

years of poor decision making

I think the criminal background of the deceased men in the car is very important -- these were hardened criminals -- and from judging from the comments of family members and friends (many of which are themselves felons, just run their names through NC Dept. of Corrections "Offender Search") they only looked the other way and acted to enable a life of drug use and mischief. What about the victims of their robberies? What about the safety of the children in Forest Hills? The battery of the SUV flew in the air 150 feet after impact -- could have killed a sleeping child in a home. This was not an accident, but rather years of poor decision making culminating in an reckless event. Stop telling me "their in heaven now" because there is the thing called judgement and hellfire.

YOU GOT A POINT BUT NO HEART!!!

YOU GOT A POINT BUT NO HEART. IF U SAY THAT THERE GOING TO HELL RIGHT? THEN U MUST BELIEVE THERE IS HEAVEN RIGHT? THEN U MUST BE KNOW THERE IS A GOD AND HE IS THE ONLY!!!!!!! I REPEAT THE ONLY!!! PERSON WHO CAN JUDGE WHO GOES TO HEAVEN OR HELL. WHAT IF ALL THE LAWS THAT WE LIVE BY WHERE WRONGE? WAT IF THEY DID WAT THEY WHERE PUT HERE TO DO AND IT WAS THERE TIME TO GO. THEY WERENT PERFECT BUT THEY HAD ALOT OF YEARS OF CHURCH I KNOW I WAS THERE I WAS IN SERVICE I PLAYED THE DRUMS THATS MY LIL BROTHER THAT WAS DRIVING SO IM A FIRST TO KNOW IF THEY WHERE GOD ABIDING AS FAR AS THEM ON EVERYDAY LIFE HE HELPED ALOT OF PEOPLE I KNOW HE DID ALOT OF GREAT THINGS THAT I DONT HAVE TO TELL U OR ANY BODY ELSE ON HERE ABOUT CAUSE I KNOW AND U TRYNA FIND OUT!!! HAHAHA GET A LIFE!!!!

The level of ignorance

As I sit here and read all of the messages that people have posted, I am embarrased to say I am a resident of this county, (less than a year). From everything I have gathered so far this is the most outlandish county and the police (some not all) are criminals themselves, and how dare them to call out others for breaking the law. Now for the young adults that lost thier lives in such a tragedy let them Rest In Peace, there lives are over and nothing else good or bad will ever change that fact.
I am sure if the people that are posting useless information on here would look at themselves and/or the people around them and check thier backyard before calling out others. How many times have you done something illegal and just never got caught whether it be something as simple as speeding, littering, or something more serious.
To the families of the deceased, my heart goes out to you, and to the children that have lost a parent I know that God can comfort each one of you, because my children lost thier father several years ago (death by military complications). Let the children hold on to the positive memories and keep the negative thoughts and comments to yourself, dont you think that the families are dealing with enough already.
To the survivoir my heart also goes out to you, because you are left behind to endure the pain and constant replays of that night forever in your mind, not to mention the loss of your friends. But God has a plan for your life and maybe he is trying to wake you and God has allowed you another day to get your life together and surrender to Him.
For the citizens of this county: It appears that alot of you need to Grow Up! God has the final say so and the bible says Let he without sin cast the first stone, if I were you I would keep my mouth shut and keep your opinion to yourself, it may be you sitting in the same place one day with your children or family member.

YES, YES, YES! This comment

YES, YES, YES! This comment was definately worth reading. And I totally agree. Judge Not!!!!!!

The background information

The background information is relevant in that it points out the most probable reason why the driver was speeding. It is most likely that the criminal spotted a police officer and without regard for anyone else, he began travelling at a high rate of speed in a residential area in order to avoid the officer.

WOW!!!!!!!!

LETS SAY YOU ARE LATE FOR A BUSSINESS MEETING AND YOU RUNNIN LATE OR YOUR WIFE IS LATE FOR HER APPOINTMENT AT THE NAIL PLACE AND SHE SPEEDING TO GET THERE (AND I PROMISE U THERE IS PLENTY OF PAPER WORK ON IT). THEY MIGHT NOT HAVE A RECORD BUT THEY STILL BROKE THE LAW!! SO THERE WRONGE, AND THEY ALSO TRYNA DOWN THERE COFFEE THEN THROW THAT OUT THE WINDOW DRIVING THRU THE HOOD. THEN THEY LOOK BOTH WAYS FOR COPS AND WHEN ITS CLEAR YALL RUN THE STOP LIGHT. THATS ALL BREAKING THE LAW AND IF U KEEP THAT UP AND NOT GETTING CAUGHT OR BOTHERED BY THE POLICE U COULD BE NEXT OR WORST

I agree with you 100% I

I agree with you 100% I don't see how people can be so insensitive. I didn't know all of them but I know shatia and I know she was someones daughter, someones mother, someones sister. I find it to be disgusting that people have to speak about them that way. What happened happened and we cannot change lets please allow these families to morn them without anyone negative conments they already have enough to deal with have some respect. If it was your family you would want the same. the families will be in my prayers.

KARMA

If she was so great she would not been casing a nice neigborhood with her fine upstanding companions and would most likely still be breathing.Your friends are a direct reflection of your-self. Riding with the lights off is not normal and would lead most people to think they where up to no good. Then to run for no other reason than the cop turned around just kind of seals the deal.

--80mph or so in a

--80mph or so in a residential neighborhood where the speed limit is 25.
--Speeding through a school zone. Yes I know it was 1030pm but its still a school zone.
--No Seatbelts
--Drugs found in the car
--Driving without headlights at 1030pm
--Trying to evade police.

The stupid shall be punished. The only good thing to come out of this is that these morons did not kill anyone else. This is a high foot traffic neighborhood where people are walking with their kids or dogs at all hours. I am also glad that the oak tree stopped them short before they were able to careen into someone's living room. I do feel bad for the victim's families. No one should have to go through losing a loved one, but everyone in that car was in some way responsible for this tragic accident.

And before anyone says I should mind my own business, well this accident occurred a few hundred yard from my house, so it could have been my living room these idiots crashed into instead of that oak tree.

You said you feel bad for

You said you feel bad for their families, yet you call them idiots. I will say a prayer for you as well. You definately need it.

DRUGS???

Really, where in the news report does it say anything about drugs being in the car?

I do not know anyone that

I do not know anyone that was in this wreck, but reading some of these post makes me sick to my stomach. People act like because of someones past that makes them dying okay. IT DOESN'T! I can not begin to imagine how these peoples families feel, much less how they feel getting on here reading some of the post people are putting. I can honestly say that just because some of them had records doesn't mean they "deserve what they get".....I was raped when I was 8 years old, and as mad as I am at the man who done it to me, if he was to get out of prison and get killed in a car crash, I would not get on here and post negative things about him, not because he's a great person but because I know that he does have a family, and I would not want to hurt them for what he done in his past! Therefore, with that being said, if you don't have anything positive to say to these families, then stay off here! This is not a place for your negative thoughts. Keep them to yourself! R.I.P. to the ones that lost their lives, and for the one who survived, may you recover well. Also, to the family and friends, you are in our thoughts and prayers!

Eating Okra

Eating okra makes me sick to my stomach, so guess how I handle that problem? I don't eat it. Pretty simple solution wouldn't you say? If you don't like the posts on here, DON'T READ THEM!!!!

Car Crash

Ya know I really think a petition should be brought against the police officers, had they turned on there lights and sirens they could have startled them or alerted them to know there lights were not on. What a terrible tragedy a total shame, for the unnecessary act that could have been prevented, or at least tried to prevent it. I am disgusted with the police they are using to much of authority. May God comfort and Bless the families.

Legally stupid

Ya know I really think a petition should be brought against YOU, and have you declared legally stupid. The funny thing about your post is that had the officer turned activated the blue lights and siren you would have complained that this action caused them to hit the tree and die. How in the name of all that is unholy IS NOT TURNING on the blue lights using to much authority?? But yes, all this could have been avoided, by simply avoiding the tree.

The police officer did not

The police officer did not drive that van at a high rate of speed through a residential neighborhood. That officer did not run off the road and hit that tree. That police officer did not prevent those four people from wearing their seat belts. That police officer made an observation that the lights were off then he turned around to observe the vehicle. As far as I know there is no law that says that the police officer must turn his lights and sirens on when he sees a suspect vehicle.

With the criminal background of the driver, if the officer had turned his lights and sirens on, the driver probably would have gone even faster than he already was. If that had happened, then the story might have ended in more tragedy had they approached other vehicles or any pedestrians. As it turns out, only the ones in the wrong were injured or lost their lives. And by not turning his lights and sirens on it is possible that that officer saved innocent lives from being lost.

Blame?

So now we look for someone else to blame..... This country is suffering from people not accepting responsibility for personal actions. It's never because of bad choices eh? pffttt!! A petition against the police? How stupid a thing to suggest.Grow up!

I hope the family finds peace.