Zebulon teen in critical condition after vehicle ran off road, struck tree

amoody@newsobserver.comJanuary 3, 2014 

— A Zebulon teenager involved in a single-car crash Sunday night remained in critical condition at WakeMed as of Thursday morning.

Jamie Upchurch, 17, was alone traveling north on N.C. Highway 39 in Johnston County, returning to Zebulon from a friend’s house about 9:30 when the wreck occurred, according to the North Carolina State Highway Patrol.

Trooper C.E. Summerlin said Upchurch ran off the right side of the roadway, over-corrected and lost control of her Honda Accord just north of Creech Church Road, near the intersection of N.C. Highway 42. The vehicle subsequently ran off the left side of the road and struck a tree.

“When she over-corrected, she sent the car into a left-hand spin and went off the road sideways and hit a tree on the passenger-side door,” Summerlin said. “The tree was in the middle of the car, about where the passenger’s left leg or the center console would have been.”

Summerlin estimated the vehicle was traveling 65 mph – not considered an excessive speed despite being more than the posted 55 mph limit. He noted portions of the road in the area were “a little wet,” from rains earlier in the day, but that the pavement was mostly dry at the site of the wreck.

“Alcohol was not a factor and it does not appear texting was a factor, either,” Summerlin said. “It seems like she just ran off the road and pulled it back too hard.”

He said as he was leaving the hospital after the wreck on Sunday night, medical workers were preparing to perform x-rays and CT scans to check for broken bones and head injuries.

Upchurch is a student at Corinth Holders High School in Wendell.

Moody: 919-829-4806; Twitter: @easternwakenews

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