FAIRMONT — Two former Fairmont High School football players, Tyreke Addison and Nokolma Hunt, both 18, died Monday night in a single-car accident involving five players near Fairmont, according to the state Highway Patrol. Three others are hospitalized, including one who was taken to Duke University Medical Center.
Addison, of 1102 E. Eighth St. in Lumberton, and Hunt, of 171 N.C. 904 in Fairmont, were passengers in the back seat of a 1994 Ford Thunderbird traveling north on N.C. 41, about one mile south of Fairmont, when the car ran off the road to the right, struck a tree and came to rest in a residential yard at about 8:58 p.m., according to the report by Trooper D. A. Raynor.
“They slid off the road, started in a clockwise rotation, and struck the tree on the back left tire,” Sgt. Daniel Hilburn said. The car, which was destroyed, was traveling the posted speed limit of 55 mph.
A third back seat passenger, 18-year-old Darius McCallum, of Wire Grass Road in Orrum, a rising senior who plays wide receiver and defensive back, was taken to the Durham hospital.
McCallum, Addison, and Hunt were not wearing seat belts, according to the report.
The driver of the vehicle, Alex Gilchrist, 18, of Lake View, S.C., a former Fairmont football player and The Robesonian’s 2011 Robeson County Player of the Year, was taken by ambulance to Southeastern Regional Medical Center along with front seat passenger and rising senior Devont’e Govan, 17, of Leroy Road in Marietta. They are in stable condition, according to a hospital spokesperson. Each was wearing a seat belt.
The road was reported as being wet at the time of the collision.
“Life is so precious,” said former Fairmont football coach Keith Wood, who spent two years alongside Addison and Hunt. “This has been one of the hardest nights of my life, losing two of my kids.”
Addison was a two-time all-county selection by The Robesonian and paired with Hunt, a hard-nosed tailback, led the Golden Tornadoes to conference championships each of the last two seasons. Addison overcame an ankle injury his senior year that sidelined him the first seven games before returning to score the game-winning touchdown in overtime against Red Springs in October.
Addison also played on the varsity basketball team and was the starting centerfielder on the baseball team.
“I’m at a loss for words, I can’t believe it actually,” said Chris Rodriguez, a teacher and assistant coach at the school. “You couldn’t have found five better kids than those involved in this accident.”
Addison, Hunt and Gilchrist graduated from Fairmont in June. Govan and McCallum are rising seniors who were expected to be leaders on the Golden Tornadoes team this fall, which will have a new head coach, James Atkinson.
Current players and those affiliated with the football program reacted almost instantaneously via social media as the Fairmont community began mourning the deaths and injuries on both Twitter and Facebook.
Former quarterback Demetrius Washington posted this update an hour after the accident: “My bros are gone, but they going to be with me forever. Can’t believe it happened, but can’t question the way God works.”
Charlton Townsend, a senior captain, uploaded photos of Addison and Hunt from last season with inspirational messages attached to each.
Staff writer Abbi Overfelt also contributed to this report.
Reach Staff writer Brad Crawford at 910-272-6119 or email@example.com.