Stokes County accidents leave three dead in four days
DWI charges against drivers in both accidents
by Staff Reports
South Stokes freshman student Lester Levine, 15, and former South Stokes student and Meadowbrook Academy graduate Brandon Farris, 20, of Danbury, died early Sept. 14, after a crash that occured just before midnight on Highway 89 in Walnut Cove. The crash left two injured, including the driver of the truck who struck the car driven by Farris, Justin Watkins of Lawsonville. Watkins was charged with a DWI and additional charges are pending.
Last Wednesday, Austin Brewster, 17, of Pinnacle, was killed after he was thrown from a truck driven by Jon Ingram, 19, on Meadowbrook Drive. According to authorities, Ingram was charged with DWI and reckless driving.
N.C. Highway Patrol Trooper Ronnie Baker, who was on the scene of the accident, said Justin Watkins, 24, of Lawsonville was driving a pick-up truck and headed north on Highway 89, from Walnut Cove toward Danbury just before midnight, when Watkins crossed the center line and struck the car driven by Farris, near Power Dam Road. Also in the car driven by Farris was Levine, now deceased, and Robin Rangel, 18, of Danbury, who was transported to Wake Forest Baptist Hospital in Winston-Salem, where she was treated for non-life threatening injuries.
Watkins was also transported to Wake Forst Baptist, where he was treated and released.
Levine died at the scene of the crash and Farris died in the ambulance on the way to an Air Care helicopter that was waiting to transport him to Wake Forest Baptist Hospital, according to Trooper Baker.
Justin Watkins was charged with DWI. “Additional charges are pending” against Watkins, Trooper Baker said.
Principal Wayne Duggins said the school was greatly affected by the deaths: “Right now the morning was tough, it really was. It was a somber mood. It really helped having six additional counselors from other schools in Stokes County and we also had a couple of youth pastors to council and listen to the kids and let them talk; it was a little better after first and second period; they were able to tell stories and laugh together, one of them made a comment that they [Farris and Levine] would want us laughing.” A vigil was held Monday morning, in honor of freshman Levine and to remember former South Stokes Student Farris.
Duggins said several students had approached him about selling camouflage t-shirts, ribbons, and/or bracelets to raise money for the family, since Lester loved camouflage, but nothing was confirmed at this time. Students have already planned to wear camouflage to Friday night's football game in honor of Lester.
Teen killed in Sept. 11 accident
The deaths of Levine and Farris mark the third Stokes County resident killed in a car accident involving alcohol in the past week.
Just before midnight on Sept. 11, Austin Brewster, 17, of Pinnacle, was killed after he was thrown from a truck driven by Jon Ingram, 19, on Meadowbrook Drive. According to authorities, Ingram was charged with DWI and reckless driving. A passenger in the vehicle, Walter Buck, 19, was charged with underage drinking.
Investigators believe Ingram lost control of his truck, causing it to flip. Brewster was ejected from the vehicle, but authorities did not discover his body until later that night. Austin Brewster was a student at West Stokes High School.
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