An Avery County volunteer firefighter has been charged in connection to a street racing crash involving two Blowing Rock firefighters returning from a training conference in March in which three people suffered fatal personal injuries, according to authorities.
The third person, a passenger in the vehicle struck by the car carrying the two firefighters, died in a hospital 11 days after the crash.
On the morning of December 16, 18-year-old Elk Park resident Tyler Jordan Vance was charged with misdemeanor death by vehicle and spontaneous speed competition, according to North Carolina Highway Patrol Trooper T.D. Brewer. He is free on a custody release with a court date set for January 12 in McDowell County District Court.
At the time of the accident, there was a heavy rainfall and people were leaving a firefighter training program at McDowell Technical Community College. Early in the investigation, Brewer said that the collision involved a race between a Chevrolet Camaro transporting two 17-year-old Avery County junior volunteer firefighters and a Ford Mustang transporting two Blowing Rock volunteer firefighters in which speeds reached nearly 95 mph.
Brewer said Vance, 17-years-old at the time, was driving the Camaro. The name of the Camaro’s passenger was not released. His car was not involved in the crash.
However, the driver of the Mustang, 23-year-old Jeremy Gordon Bolick, lost control of the vehicle on U.S. 221 in Marion around 3 p.m. on March 21. The Mustang spun across the five-lane highway and struck an oncoming vehicle, the NCHP said.
Bolick and his passenger, 20-year-old Charles Thomas Wright, died in the crash as their vehicle slammed sideways into a 2006 Chrysler driven by 51-year-old Cynthia White Bassett.
Bassett’s husband, 51-year-old Jeffrey Wilkes Bassett, died in Asheville’s Mission Hospital 11 days after the crash. She was hospitalized for more than three weeks.