Two teenagers are among three people who have died in separate accidents in Robeson County during the Memorial Day holiday weekend.
Two of the deaths were drownings.
Alene Martinez, a 10th-grader at Red Springs High, was killed Sunday when the ATV she was riding flipped on N.C. 71 near Red Springs. Details were sketchy because the Highway Patrol could not be reached, but WPDE reported she was riding in a side-by-side ATV when it crashed and she suffered head injuries.
The high school used Facebook to publish the following message to that town’s community.
“It is with great sadness that we must report the passing of a beloved student, Alene Martinez. Alene was in 10th grade and had a beautiful spirit that positively impacted everyone she came in contact with. We will have grief counselors at the school for students and staff who may need to speak with someone. We ask that our Red Springs High Community rally together to get through this difficult time. Please keep the Martinez family in your prayers.”
On Monday, the body of a Columbus County man was pulled from a pond near Orrum in what investigators suspect was the second drowning in three days.
According to sheriff’s Detective Brandon Patterson, Roy Dale Ammons, 54, of 2517 Arthur Collier Road in Bladenboro, was found floating in a private pond off Ann Road, near N.C. 130, close to the Columbus County line. The Sheriff’s Office responded to a 911 call about 1 p.m. from someone who saw a pickup truck at the pond and went to investigate and saw a body floating in the pond. They used a boat to reach the body.
Patterson said Ammons, who actually lives in Columbus County but has a Bladenboro address, had gone fishing Sunday morning. Fishing equipment was found at the pond and a boat was in the back of the pickup, according to Patterson.
An autopsy will be performed to confirm drowning as the cause of death.
An effort has begun to raise money to help with the funeral expenses of a Fairmont teenager who drowned on Saturday during a Boy Scout outing.
As of Monday afternoon, $5,590 of the $7,500 goal had been donated at https://www.gofundme.com/teen-funeral-expense-fund?member=233124 for Claudius Worley, a 15-year-old rising sophomore at Fairmont High School.
“Claudius touched the hearts of many and he will be missed,” wrote Wayland Lennon III, a Boy Scout leader with Troop 301 who started the fund and will administer it. “Our goal is to honor Claudius’ memory by raising funds to help with funeral and burial expenses. All funds raised will be directed to the family to offset these expenses. These funds are needed immediately.”
Worley drowned on Saturday while playing in a man-made private pond at 202 Willoughby Road, according to Robert Ivey, commander of the Lumberton Rescue and Emergency Medical Services. He said a 911 call came in at 11:43 a.m. and the body was recovered about one hour later in an area of the pond that was about 12 to 15 feet deep.
There was a deck at the pond with a zip line and a swing rope, Ivey said. Rescue personnel were told Worley used the rope to swing out over the pond, let go, went under water and never resurfaced.
Sheriff’s Detective Brandon Patterson said investigators were told that several attempts were made to rescue Worley, but the divers could not find his body.
Lennon described Worley as “always smiling,” “eager to always do his best,” “loving the outdoors,” “and making friends through Scouting and sports.”
“That was Claudius Worley,” he said “Our hearts are heavy as we mourn the loss of our friend … .”
Lennon said Worley played football and baseball in school, was a member of Boy Scout Troop 386, where he was a First Class Scout moving toward earning the rank of Star Scout. On May 19, he became an Ordeal member of the Order of the Arrow, which is the National Honor Society for Boy Scouts and focuses on camping, brotherhood and cheerful service.
“He was so proud of completing the ordeal and becoming a full member of this prestigious and honorable organization,” said Lennon, who lives in Fairmont.
Jonathan Widmark is CEO of the Cape Fear Council, Boy Scouts of America.
“This is an extremely difficult time for our Scouting family,” he said. “We are sad to confirm the death of one of our youth members following a drowning incident. Our thoughts and prayers are with the victim’s family, and we will support them in any way that we can.
“I would like to thank the emergency response teams that assisted our scouts and volunteers throughout this incident.”
Editor Donnie Douglas can be reached at 910-416-5649 or [email protected]