An infant girl continues to receive treatment at UNC Hospitals in Chapel Hill following a head-on wreck on Hayne Stretch Road that claimed the life of her mother, N.C. Highway Patrol officials in Sampson County said Monday.
Megan Lynn Gill, 37, of Maxton Street, Autryville, was traveling north on Hayne Stretch Road at 1:20 p.m. Thursday, about a mile and a half south of N.C. 24, when the collision occurred. She had her 6-month-old daughter Abeygail Kinlaw, of the same Autryville address, in the backseat of the 1993 Oldsmobile passenger vehicle.
Meanwhile, a 2011 Chrysler was being driven the opposite direction by Yamilexa Benitez, 23, of Turtle Dove Lane, Roseboro. She had two young passengers of her own — Yamaly Benitez, 4, and Cailyn Wynder, 6 months, all of the same Roseboro address.
Reports state that Gill’s Oldsmobile crossed the center line in a slight curve in the roadway, entering into the path of Benitez’s Chrysler.
“That is when (the Chrysler) took evasive action and swerved left to avoid colliding with the vehicle,” Sgt. S.F. Cotton said.
According to the patrol investigation, it is believed that, when Gill noticed that the vehicle had crossed the center line, she swerved back to the right in an attempt to miss Benitez’s vehicle.
“They collided right there on the center line,” said Cotton.
Gill was pronounced dead at the scene. Everyone else was transported for their injuries.
Cotton said both drivers and all child passengers were properly buckled in and children were in the backseat in their required child safety seats. There was no cell phone found in Gill’s vehicle, Cotton said, noting the lack of major contributing factors as well as any cell phone-related inattention. Additionally, alcohol and drug use are not suspected and speed is not an issue, Cotton said.
“We’re not sure exactly what led (to the collision),” the sergeant noted. “It could have been inattention in some way. She could have been tending to the child, but for some reason she took her eyes off the road.”
Benitez and the two girls in her vehicle were treated and released from Sampson Regional Medical Center. Abeygail was transported to Chapel Hill, where Cotton said she is still being treated at the Children’s Hospital.
The infant’s injuries are “non-life-threatening,” the sergeant noted.
Thursday’s fatality was the third in Sampson County in little more than a week, occurring the same day that Wren Frederick Lane, 58, passed away from injuries she sustained from being hit by a truck in the Walmart parking lot Jan. 10. John Allen, 66, was Sampson’s first roadway death in 2016. He ran off the right side of U.S. 13, near the intersection at Wrye Branch Road, and overturned into a creek on Jan. 6.
Reach Managing Editor Chris Berendt at 910-249-4616. Follow the paper on twitter @SampsonInd and like us on Facebook.