LUMBERTON, N.C. -- Four teens were killed Monday morning when authorities said they crashed head-on into a school bus.
The accident happened around 10:15 a.m. in the 2900 block of Wire Grass Road in Lumberton. A spokesman with the State Highway Patrol said the 16-year-old driver, heading eastbound, hit a curve at 80 miles per hour, before hitting the bus.
The bus, traveling westbound, was not carrying children, but a Robeson County Schools maintenance worker was taking it to the transportation building for repair. The bus driver had just left Fairmont High School.
The teens were riding in a 2000 Nissan Maxima. They've been identified as Tylek McNair, 18 and Kashawn Leonard, 19, of Fairmont, Daylon Cummings, 15, of Rowland and Kadaufei Worley, 16, of Lumberton.
Three of the four dead were ejected from the Nissan Maxima on impact. The driver, Worley. who was wearing a seatbelt, was also killed.
Robeson County school officials said McNair was a 12th grader at Fairmont High School. Cummings was a 9th grader at South Robeson High School. Leonard graduated last year from Fairmont High, and Worley was an 11th grader at South Robeson.
The school bus driver, 36-year-old Kinyata Locklear, was transferred to Duke University Hospital in serious condition with non-life-threatening injuries. Locklear is from Maxton.
Prior to the crash, a spokesman with NCSHP said the car was called in as "suspicious," and followed by a driver who called authorities.
"There was a citizen that called about a suspicious vehicle that was behind the Nissan Maxima," said Lt. Jeff Gordon. "The sheriff's department was behind that vehicle. They went around the curve. The suspect vehicle was going at a high rate of speed, lost control, and then traveled into the lane of the school bus."
It's unclear why the caller thought the teens' car was suspicious, or what other factors led up to the accident. The Robeson County Sheriff's Office is investigating the events leading up to accident, while the State Highway Patrol is investigating the crash.
Meanwhile, Worley's grieving family members are demanding answers. They say they are confused and angry about initial information from authorities that the teens were suspects in a breaking and entering. The Highway Patrol later said that was misinformation.
"He was a good kid who loved basketball," said Christy Worley, Kadaufei's mother. "He never got into trouble -- no criminal record. He was a homebody."
"I want the real story to get out," said Pocco Worley, Kadaufei's father. "I want the public to know that's not what my son was known for. My son was known for good grades and a just all around good guy."
Christy Worley said she is devastated and worries that the damage is done to her son's reputation.
"That's not my child," she said." I don't understand where they got that from. He should not have been profiled just because someone thought he was suspicious, as they were behind him. That's not right and should not even be an issue."
School officials said counselors will be on hand this week to help students at both high schools deal with the loss of their classmates.
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