There were three fatalities in a Tuesday (December 8) crash in Catawba County. At approximately 2:05 p.m., the NC State Highway Patrol responded to Balls Creek School Road approximately one mile north of Little Mountain Road and Balls Creek Elementary School. A 2013 Hyundai Elantra was traveling north on Balls Creek School Road at a high rate of speed, lost control, overcorrected, crossed the centerline, and collided head-on with a southbound 2015 Kia Optima.
The driver of the Hyundai, 25-year-old Bobby Ray Payne Jr. of Conover, succumbed to his injuries at the scene. He was not restrained by a seatbelt. The driver of the Kia, 43-year-old Larry Ray Sims Jr. of Kannapolis, was initially airlifted from the scene by medical helicopter but pronounced deceased at Atrium Health’s Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte a short time later. A passenger in the Kia, 33-year-old Chasity Copeland Spears of Sherrills Ford, succumbed to her injuries at the scene. Both occupants were restrained by seatbelts.
Local school traffic was detoured by troopers and other first responders while the roadway was closed for approximately three hours during the investigation.