Officials stress seat belt use after fatal Pitt County crashes

PITT COUNTY, N.C. (WITN) – Officials are emphasizing the importance of wearing seat belts after four people were killed and two others hospitalized in a pair of crashes on a Pitt County highway this weekend.

The North Carolina Governor’s Highway Safety Program is spreading awareness on the issue.

“We want to keep people safe,” said Director Mark Ezzell.

Highway Patrol reports that around midnight on Saturday, Suhziah Spruill was traveling north on Highway 903 at high speed when she went off the road and collided with a guardrail.

Tom Webb, who lives nearby, says he sees speeding cars often.

“We tell our granddaughter not to play in the front yard and when I mow out there I do it real slow and keep on looking over my shoulder,” Webb said.

The 22-year-old driver had five passengers. Troopers say all five were not wearing seat belts and were thrown from the car.

Troopers say Nykwon Coppedge, Zykhia Connor, and Amoni Spruill died at the scene.

Following the crash, officials are stressing the importance of seat belts, noting nearly 50 percent of people killed in vehicle crashes were not wearing them.

“Front seat or back seat, it doesn’t matter,” Ezzell said. “That seatbelt by itself will significantly reduce the chances of a fatality in a crash.”

After the crash, Suhziah Spruill jumped into the roadway to stop traffic and was hit by a Kia Forte, dying at the scene.

Chasity Kittrell and Aliana Spruill were taken to ECU Health with serious but non-life-threatening injuries. Every victim of the two crashes was between the ages of 18 and 22.

Troopers say the driver of the Kia Forte will not be charged.

According to Ezzell, 92 percent of drivers in the state wear seat belts. He hopes the remaining eight percent will learn the importance. He advises that teaching young adults about road safety starts with modeling the desired behavior.