Officials looking over teens' crash site

Christopher Kosmos and Alissa Chenette

March 28, 2010 9:00:00 PM PDT
Two students from West Johnston High School drowned south of Clayton Monday when the car they were riding in was swept into a creek and filled with water.

It happened around 7 a.m. along Steel Bridge Road at Lee Road.

Sergeant Jorge Brewer with the North Carolina Highway Patrol told ABC11 Eyewitness News that a 1998 White Chevy Cavalier hydroplaned in water on the road, ran off the pavement to the right, and hit a ditch - flipping over and coming to rest wheels up at the edge of a flooded creek.

The North Carolina Highway Patrol identified the students as 16-year-old Alissa Chenette of Clayton and her boyfriend 18-year-old Christopher Paul Kosmos of Angier.

The Highway Patrol said Kosmos was driving the car. Chenette's body was found inside the vehicle. Divers later recovered Kosmos about 150 away from where the car was found.

Police say the road was five inches underwater Monday morning.

Mike Moneypenny, a hydrologist with the National Weather Service, came out to study the stream after the accident.

He says it's not considered a hot spot prone to flooding and it isn't an area they keep an eye on - same goes for the Department of Transportation, state police, and the sheriff's department.

"We did have a month worth of rain in a six hour period that's a lot of rain, you know, we have four inches right here," Moneypenney said. "So even with these two culverts, it's not like we've got a bridge here with a clear cut through, it's still constricting the water flow quite a bit here right at the road."

Moneypenny says that Monday's flooding might be a 25 or 50 year event.

A spokesperson for the DOT says because flooding is so unusual there, changes to the road or the culverts underneath it likely won't be made.

Moneypenny says he's going to keep studying the area and depending on what he finds, it could become one of the hot spots they keep an eye on and warn people about.

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