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SAMPSON COUNTY, NC (WWAY) –- A Sampson County man is in jail charged with allegedly hitting and killing a girl with a loaded log truck as she got off her school bus yesterday afternoon.

Troopers say 7-year-old Alyiah McKenzie Morgan died on the way to the hospital in Clinton after the hit-and-run on Highway 421. According to WTVD, neighbors told them that Alyiah’s mother was standing nearby when her daughter was hit.

Highway Patrol charged Johnny Allen Spell, Jr., 37, of Roseboro, with passing a stopped school bus, hit and run and involuntary manslaughter. NCHP Sgt. Bryan Smith tells WWAY Spell also faces a misdemeanor charge of driving while impaired.

Spell is in the Sampson County Jail under a $200,000 bond.

A family friend at Morgan’s home near Harrells last night said the girl was in first grade. Highway Patrol said she was hit around 3:45 p.m. as she got off the school bus on US 421 near Herring Road. Investigators say Spell passed the school bus even though it had its flashers on.

Highway Patrol says Spell continued South on US 421 after the collision. A tip led them to find the truck behind a barn 45 miles away near Autryville.

Comment on this Story

  • Starlene Morgan

    People pls, pls stop commenting about our PRECIOUS ALYIAH !!!! When you dont know the details. Alyiah DID LOOK BOTH WAYS !!!! Thats the worst part, OUR BABY GIRL DID EXACTLY WHAT SHE WAS TAUGHT TO DO !!!! And it didnt matter. The details will come out, untill then PLEASE refrain from ANY commets about THIS CHILD….HOW DARE YOU !!!

  • cjgilbert

    I am a bus driver who holds my chldren on the bus due to the amber lights flash first to let you know reds are about to go on. every one of you hate to be behind a bus so when you see yellow as in a traffic light you go faster to beat the red, drivers see amber on a bus you think it means speed up or pass so you dont get stopped i see this everyday on my bus even when red is flashing n stop sign is out drivers still drive all the way up to my stop sign n then stop ttttttttoooooooooooo lllate you have hit someone if i hadnt held them on my bus people just stop especially all of you who dont, when you see me in my bus and the lights are flashin and ther are 1 to 10 children standing at the bus stop THINK, and where is your common sense children dont stand at corners/streets/ (bus stops) early in the morning for no reason i was in a bad bus wreck cause a driver in a big truck didnt see me in the dark lit up like a christmas tree, whatever drivers you arent paying attention

  • Brenda Campbell

    I was devastated when I heard the news Today, I just cant believe that this bright eyed adorable little girl is gone she was one of my favorite kids on m y bus and I had her before she moved to NC. I’m so sorry to her Mom and the rest of the family and cant help but think of the pain that you must be going through. It pains me deeply. I loved her. She use to make me laugh, she was such a good girl. I’m So SORRY for your loss. I can only think that the man that did this should be made an example and parents and drivers PLEASE PLEASE I beg of you too teach the children to be mindful that the drivers out there can not be trusted. There isn’t a day that goes by that someone does not pass my my reds. I see it all the time they are oblivious to the harm they can do. OH GOD I cant get over it.

  • stephen

    I also heard he had no operators license and isn’t this the same guy in this story.Mug shot looks the same http://clintonnc.com/pages/full_story/push?article-Salemburg+man+charged+after+allegedly+stealing+from+employer%20&id=15012400

  • Guest 18

    I normally do not comment on the things I read. However, I must say that I would rather look like an idiot every day than knowing that I could possibly be the one to hurt a child. If you will re read the driver handbook. You are not required to stop until the caution lights become red and the sign is out. I have been driving for 40 years and caution lights mean to “proceed with caution”. Anyone that is issued a driver license should realize that they are responsible of everything around them on the road. I can’t possibly see what the state could have done to have prevented this horrible tragedy. When I was in school there were no flashing lights or bars on the front that swing out. Things have changed since that time. Instead of blaming the state why dont we try to send them some constructive ideas.

  • john thompson

    far as flashing lights yellow doesn’t mean stop red does. yellow means caution.this didnt happen because the state messed up it happened because a crack head was let to drive. i am a truck driver and have drove by where she got hit. he had plenty of time to see the bus, and didnt stop he is a murder. and should be put to death for the murder of a 7 year old. everybody looks to blame everybody else, when infact the blame rests with them. for that matter u can blame the bus driver for not checking to see if it was clear to let her off the bus. but still accountability, its the driver who didnt stop, he murdered her and now lies to try and save himself. i say give him death

  • Guest Vader

    If you read the story, you would know that the driver was not from Brunswick County.

  • Guest1234543

    i don’t want to be interpreted as taking up for the log truck because I’d have done dealt with him if it were my daughter, but he chose to drink and drive but you will never convince me he blatantly chose to pass a knon stopped school bus, that’s a strectch, even for some of those Brunswick county drivers.

  • guesty

    The amount of people that don’t know when you have to stop for a bus and when you can pass it. Carolina Beach Rd is a perfect example. Because it is a 4 lane road with a center turning lane that turns into a 4 lane divided road, there is nowhere on that road a driver must stop if a bus is stopped heading in the opposite direction. I’ve lost count of how many close wrecks I’ve seen because a driver in the left lane slams on brakes to stop for an approaching bus. Then somebody in the right lane will stop and traffic will back up. You only have to stop if you are going in the same direction as the bus. They don’t have kids cross 5 lanes to get on or off a bus.

  • Guest350

    Guest 17, you have said a mouthful. Many times I have approached a school bus headed toward me with amber lights flashing only to travel a quarter mile before it actually stops. I have stopped and they go on by, still rolling near road speed. There needs to be better communication between busses and drivers. Why not have designated bus stops a quarter mile apart, well marked so motorists will know where the bus can and will stop? Picking up students every 50 feet only tends to make folks more anxious to get around a bus.

  • Guest17

    this is a sad accident but in some ways this could have been a little bit the fault of the state of NC, how many of us have stopped for a school bus because the flashers were on just to watch the school bus drive by us and then throw their stop sign, making us look like an idiot?, I for 1 think the state needs to rethink this, I like all the flashing lights to draw attention but the caution lights should not flash until the driver is actually throwing out the stop sign, thus eliminating any and all confusion, the driver of the bus should still hold the kids until they are certain all vehicles are stopping.

  • Guest2020

    I hope that Sampson County’s District Attorney will increase the severity of the charges once the investigation is complete. This man chose to drink and drive. He chose to pass a stopped school bus. A little girl is dead because of his selfish choices and wanton disregard for human life. He deserves prison time and not a slap on the wrist with probation.

  • Guesting

    I guess now Obama ia going to outlaw log trucks just like guns

  • Guest_parent

    I hope he rots in Hell!

  • karen ash

    This is a awful tragic thing that has happened to this poor innocent girl and her family! judging by the reports he was under some kind of substance therefore it was not an accident, he chose to get behind the wheel and drive impaired, killing a precious little girl! He’s a monster and I hope he gets everything he deserves in prison when they find out what he did! I also hope they change the laws so that children don’t have to cross the road getting off a school bus, it will take some extra gas and route changes but it’s well worth it if it saves a child’s life ! So sad !

  • Vog46

    But I have a question.
    Don’t some counties try to let elementary school aged children off the bus so as they don’t have to cross the street?
    Seems to me that if Fed Ex can use right turns only as a policy for delivery of packages that we can surely change routes to prevent any YOUNGER kids from having to cross in front of a parked school bus with their lights going?

    Or is this not doable in rural counties?


  • Guest1971

    My heart breaks for the family who lost their baby. Prayers & Condolences to the whole family.

  • Toya

    Don’t try and turn it in the bus drivers fault at the speed he was going there was nothing she could have done she could have check her mirrors and at the time did not see him coming and all of a sudden out of nowhere here he comes…..REALLY THINK ABOUT IT THE SPEED OF AN 18 WHEELER AND A STOPPED SCHOOL BUS SO CRUEL TO TRY AND BLAME THE DRIVER!

  • nofaithnlaw

    Correct me if I am wrong…Driving a log truck..Commerical vehicle CDL license required ZERO ALCOHOL TOLERANCE. Was he an independent logger? If not who was he employed by and why was he allowed to be driving this death trap. I have read in article that he had been recently cted for driving without an operators license..HHHMMM?? There are so many reasons that he should have not been behind the wheel of any vehicles…..GET DRUNKS OFF THE ROAD. THERE ARE SO MANY OF THEM THAT DRIVE WITHOUT A LICENSE AND EVENTUALLY HURT INNOCENT PEOPLE…..IT IS TIME…YOU FILL IN THE REST OF IT. I AM SO ANGRY IF I PUT IT IN WRITING IT WOULDN’T BE GOOD. GOD BLESS THIS CHILD AND HER FAMILY!

  • Guest1851658

    Such a sad occurance. I feel for the family, as I too lost a son in a traffic accident. Would it be too out of order to suggest that even though the bus is stopped, to train the kids to look both ways before stepping out from in front of the bus? Had he only taken time to look first, this might have been prevented.

  • Trish Mathis

    This was a baby girl, she was trusting her bus driver and adults to take care of her. She is crossing a major highway, this truck driver is 100 percent at fault.

  • Tamera

    I disagree with a passion. It is a law to not pass a stopped school bus for no reason what so ever. It is no way this child’s fault that she was hit and if you think so, there is something wrong. I knew this little girl personally and she was the sweetest ever. Your comment was not needed. Sorry I’m not sorry. Just saying a fact

  • Huber hanes

    Obviously, WWAY has No Regards,let alone any Common Deciency what-so-ever for this families tragic loss by rushing a news crew out to the residence — just to be first get a: “hot story” . * If this were a member of WWAY’s News Team — the news coverage of this accident would be conducted in an entirely different manner as far as rushing out to the deceased person’s home. When I see WWAY News in the future — I’ll change the channel – and remember their news article.

  • will

    If you think it is the kids fault for not looking both ways you are very wrong.. It was 100percent the drivers fault and now to top all of it off he was intoxicated.. You should have more respect for this family than to even think it was that poor little girls fault for not looking both ways..

  • Guest CommonTater

    That about covers it….

  • Teach Right

    If you look in the news report video the outline and focus of where the girl had gotten hit was very close to the white line on the side of the road. If the girl had gotten hit full on by the truck it would have crushed her body instantly on the grill or crushed her by running over her leaving a horrific bloody scene. The girl had gotten hit when she was almost all the way across the road. So can some one please explain to me why it is the little girls responsibility to look both ways when she is half way across the road . People should better analyze the turn of events and what took place before making negative comments on a situation they know nothing about. It was not the little girl’s fault that she was hit by an impaired and irresponsible truck driver when she was almost on the other side of the road. The person who wrote this can kick rocks with flip flops.

  • starlene morgan

    Excusse me Maam Alyiah DID LOOK BOTH WAYS !!!The saddest thing IS that OUR SWEET BABY DID WHAT SHE WAS SUPPOSED TO, WHAT SHE WAS TAUGHT DO. Details will come out, untill then please refrain from any comments about THIS CHILD pls…….

  • Respect

    You guys seriously went to their house in a time like this, for some news coverage? Disrespectful, shameful.

  • Guest831


  • terrible


  • Guest-o-matic

    Doesn’t get much dummer, ignorant, cold and callous as this! My prayers are out to this little girls family and friends.

  • Trish Mathis

    This was a baby girl who was trusting the adults around her. This is 100 percent the truck driver’s fault.

    How mean to even blame this innocent child for what happened.

    That is shameful!

  • Guest1111

    Unless it was beyond his ability to stop that truck (gross mechanical failure) how is the manslaughter involuntary??

  • Guest-o-matic

    …but I seriously doubt he intentionally killed the little girl. Bad judgement, lack of attention…absolutely, but I don’t think he did it intentionally.

  • ilmNCnative

    Why is the manslaughter charge involuntary? Assuming that there were no mechanical issues with the truck, he voluntarily passed a stopped school bus that had its flashers on. The charge should be 2nd degree murder or voluntary manslaughter at the least. I hope that people will learn from this person’s mistakes. Such an avoidable tragedy.

  • anne

    Why does someone think they are so important that the extra time they would spend waiting on a bus is more important than a child’s life? Now a child is dead – a family is devastated – because of a moment of stupidity. It also says he was impaired – which speaks volumes.

    Our prayers and thoughts go out to the family and friends in this time of tragedy.

    Hopefully it will make people think!

  • GuestSoSad

    Agreed. And sadly this will devastate more than one family…the child’s, the bus driver’s, the truck driver’s, and each and every other child on that bus that witnessed their classmate’s fate. So very sad for each of them. May God give comfort to them all.

  • Guest 1

    The bus driver should have not let the child of the bus till she seen all the trafic stop she should of notice if a log truck was coming down the road and not sowing down the bus driver should be chared as well

  • speaking the truth

    First of all when the driver looked it could have been all clear the child could have already been off the bus when the asshole sped past….The problem is the trucking company letting someone they knew wasnt responsible enough nor licensed since he just got arrested for not having a operator’s license the week before drive for them. So don’t try to put blame on bus driver or parents etc..This is all the trucking companys fault and he.driver of the truck..It’s a horrible accident that both the parent and bus driver will replay everyday of their lives..People that makes comments like u did is what will eat away at a perfectly innocents persons mind with what if and if onlys….

  • JB28328

    You are seriously going to blame this on the bus driver??? You, my friend, are an idiot!

  • April Faircloth

    The bus driver done her job!!! The bus was stopped with ALL equitment working properly!!!Lights on tge stop sign out!! The bus driver should not be charged for anything!! Whoever thinks this needs their head and morals checked!! That driver of the logging truck should have acted like a responsible adult!! This driver was charged with DWI for petes sake!! That driver claimed the life of a beautiful innocent 7 year old girl and the driver also destroyed the bus driver and 20+ more kids emotionally with what he did!!! I hope he gets the maximum punishmeny for this cruel tragedy that he commited!!! That driver fled the scene very aware if what had been done!!! The selfish SOB deserves to done the same way he done that precious baby!! I hope death row is his only option!!! Its morons like “the guest” that said tge bus driver should be charged!! Seriously how do you think that driver feels!! Drove tge bus all year snd right here at the end she witnesses one of her precious riders get MURDERED by a careless selfish idiot that doesn’t deserve freedom or life….Remember this idiot has a record already and it just got bigger!! Guess lessons weren’t learned from previous “mistakes”!!! My heart goes out to the little girls family the bus driver and everyone at UES!! Praying for all of you!!

  • April

    Are you serious? Just like a bu ch of meidia liberals…NEVER WANTING THE ONE TRULY RESPONSIBLE TO PAYNFOR THEIR ACTIONS! We

  • April Faircloth



    You are obviously some relation to the jacka$$ that was driving that truck. It is NOT the bus drivers fault by far. You should be charged for making such an ignorant comment. People like you have no idea. Not the bus driver responsibility to control other drivers on the highway. Each person operating a motor vehicle hold that responsibility of that vehicle. Get A Life!

  • do you know that she didn’t?
    Curve in the road could stop that

  • Tamera

    I’m sorry… But for the people blaming the bus driver, you are truly uneducated about the laws of the road. Need I remind you that passing a STOPPED school bus is prohibited! That tells me that if you came up to a stopped school bus, you would pass, and should be locked up right now. What bus driver makes sure all the traffic has stopped before letting the child off ? THAT’S WHAT THE FLASHING LIGHTS AND STOP SIGN IS FOR!! So, with that being said if you want to leave a comment, be remorseful and not stupid.

  • Guest betty jacobs

    Let’s stop the blame-game and pray for this family that is personally involved. We must consider alsothe affect on all school staff especially the children on the bus with her. Allow God to prevail in this ordeal. I Thank God for his comforting arms to embrace the parents and any siblings.

  • Vog46

    Go ahead and change the channel.
    Then you can watch as WECT and News 14 news crews go to the WWAY family home to interview them in a time of tragic loss.
    I know this is a tough situation but remember, as TV watchers we are always fascinated by gore, tragedy, sex, and political misdoings.
    This explains our fascination with the Kardashians – with bombings with Clinton getting “a Lewinski” and so on.

    Years ago a short skirt got networks into hot water.
    Now it’s almost anything goes.
    We are interested by celebrity’s and what they wear. Politicians and their scandals
    The problem is us and how numb we’ve become numbed to sex, gore and scandal.
    The news media is just trying to feed into that numbness – to be THAT much more scintillating, that much more gory.


  • Guest1

    The article said a tip led the authorities to the log truck behind a barn. Had WWAY not covered this issue, perhaps there would have been no tip. And now parents who are watching this can teach their kids to be more aware and careful when they get off the bus. Honestly, the more coverage on these sort of things, maybe the less it will happen.

  • Guest350

    Yes, she was trusting the adults around her and you see what happened. Teaching children to look for themselves, just as an added precaution might have saved her.

  • Fed Up

    As long as we’re talking about teaching, who’s responsible for teaching this idiot not to drive while intoxicated, let alone pass a stopped school bus. Come on!!! The poor angel was 7 years old.

    Not the parents’ fault, not the school’s fault, not the bus driver’s fault – The Idiot Log Truck Driver’s fault, beginning to end.

  • Guest350

    Common Tater, you calling someone an Idiot is much like the pot calling the kettle black. But, the point is this…..nobody is denying it was solely the fault of the trucker. I am sure the bus had every available flasher and sign activated warning others to stop. I doubt the bus driver ever saw the log truck until it was beside the bus. Everything was done, by the book to prevent what happened from happening. Sometimes everything is not enough. However, how could it possibly hurt if children were instructed just to look both ways before stepping out from in front of a school bus? How could an extra precaution hurt? It possibly would have saved this little girl’s life. Many times I have stopped behind a school bus and witnessed kids running across the street, never looking, assumeing everyone has stopped. Yes, people are supposed to stop, but sometimes they don’t. What’s wrong with a little extra safety in the school day? If trying to safeguard little kids in every possible way and attempting to compensate for others bad judgement makes me or anyone else an idiot, I guess I am one.

  • Guest CommonTater

    hell are you going on about?

    Of course there is nothing wrong with the “extra precaution” but we are talking about a 7 year old. Are you really stupid enough to think we can count on a 7 year old to protect themselves from adults? Makes it sound like it was the poor child’s fault in some weird way. This was an innocent child that was taken away by a worthless adult that had no regard for her or any body else. It was an idiotic statement to make.

    Your last sentence I will accept as a confession of truth….


  • Guest Mechanic

    Quite obviously, no adult was able to protect her in this instance. All the rules were adhered to, EXCEPT a drunken truck driver did not obey the law. Had her parents, bus driver, school safety officer or ANYBODY warned her to always look FOR HERSELF before stepping from in front ot the bus, and she remembered to do so, the outcome might not have been the same. What’s wrong with training children to add a little extra protection to what adults provide and sometimes FAIL to accomplish?

  • Guest CommonTater

    Submitted by Starlene Morgan (not verified) on Thu, 05/02/2013 – 2:48pm.
    People pls, pls stop commenting about our PRECIOUS ALYIAH !!!! When you dont know the details. Alyiah DID LOOK BOTH WAYS !!!! Thats the worst part, OUR BABY GIRL DID EXACTLY WHAT SHE WAS TAUGHT TO DO !!!! And it didnt matter.

    Read what I said slowly to yourself so maybe you will get it this time. I said nothing about not teaching them to look. Here’s the part you and “it” doesn’t get. You can’t rely on a 7 year old to protect themselves. You phrased it much the same way in placing blame on the child. What’s wrong with you?

  • Guest1111

    He intentionally passed the school bus and the little girl paid for it. If bad things happen in the process of a crime you commit, you should be responsible for all of it.

  • Guest2020

    Drunk drivers get charged with 2nd degree murder all of the time. This man chose to drink and drive. This man chose to put his needs ahead of the welfare of others when he got behind the wheel and any child be damned that was crossing the road when he passed a stopped school bus. Yes, he deserves to be charged with more than just involuntary anything because of the conscious choices that he made.

  • al22

    Really? Such an ignorant comment to make…so now, my turn: so typical of a conservative to say something stupid. This has nothing to do with politics..go back to facebook and make those stupid comments and ruin every media outlet/forum


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