Youngest teen killed in head-on crash laid to rest

ROWLAND, N.C. (WTVD) -- Daylon Cummings was one of Shanita Wooten's favorite students. He was one of the administrator's students at Rowland Middle School in Robeson County, where principals were taught to make sure their students got home safely.

Usually that meant to a house. On Friday, that meant to a final resting place.

Cummings, 14, was the youngest of four Robeson County teens killed Monday in a head-on collision with a school bus. The bus didn't have students on it, and the driver survived with serious injuries.

Cummings, affectionately known as "Day-Day" was a passenger alongside Keyshawn Leonard, 19, and Tylek McNair, 18. They were in a Nissan Maxima driven by 16-year-old Kaudaufei Worley.

While the circumstances surrounding the accident are still in question, this weekend is about farewells.

Family, friends and classmates bid a tearful good-bye to Cummings in the gymnasium of South Robeson High School, where the ninth grader and Worley were student-athletes.

"My most special memory of Daylon was that he never let a day go by without giving me a hug and letting me know he loved me," said his former teacher, Helen Nygaard.

Wooten, who is now an assistant superintendent in Robeson County Schools, said Cummings was an honor student who served on leadership teams.

"All As, all the time," she told the gymnasium. "He was one of the best students I'd ever had."

Michael Gilliland, Cummings' seventh grade teacher and basketball coach, choked up as he retired the student's jersey, and turned to Cummings' older brother, Jared Morgan.

"Your brother's gone, but he's never going to die," said Gilliland. "He'll live on through you, and you have so much potential.

Morgan, 15, described a loving, caring brother and best friend who had dreams of going into the Army.

"He didn't do the stuff like they're [authorities] trying to make it seem," he said. "He's was always nice and cared about everybody, tried to help everybody he could."

THE INVESTIGATION

Morgan was on his way to Fayetteville Monday morning, when he pulled out his phone to contact his younger brother.

"I sent him a text, but I never heard back," said Morgan.

Authorities said Cummings and the other teens were in a Nissan Maxima that was speeding around a Wire Grass Road curb at 80 miles per hour, before it slammed into the school bus driven by Kinyata Locklear, 36, a maintenance worker with Robeson County School. Locklear had just left Fairmont High School to take the bus for routine maintenance.

Three of the four teens were ejected from the car. Locklear sustained serious injury.

That was around 10:15 a.m.

"Everybody has opinions, but they were great guys," said Jasmine Sydnor, 18, whose mother brought her from their nearby home to the wreckage site for a moment of reflection over two friends, Leonard and McNair.

"I heard the ambulance and stuff but it didn't realize it was for somebody I actually knew, you-know," she said.

Originally, Highway Patrol authorities were told the teens were involved in a breaking and entering case, and were trying to outrun a deputy when they crashed.

By Monday afternoon, NCSHP said they'd been forwarded misinformation, and the teens were actually being followed by a local resident who saw their car stopping and stopping in the Lovette Road area. The resident told authorities their car matched the description of one involved in recent break-ins.

That resident, who remains unidentified, called 911 and began to follow the teens. A deputy in the area, traveling in the opposite direction of the teens on Old Kingsdale Road, turned around to follow, as well, Robeson authorities said. Before the resident and deputy turned off Old Kingsdale Road and onto Wire Grass Road, the crash had occurred.

This week, Robeson authorities said four handguns were pulled from the wreckage -- three on Monday, and another one on Tuesday.

On Friday, Maj. Howard Branch said they could not confirm where the handguns came from, but they were not stolen. He also said investigators could not confirm what the teens were doing in the neighborhood that morning.

It is also unknown the speed of the deputy and resident who followed the teens, although Robeson authorities said on Monday that a chase did not occur.

The uncertainty in the chain of events has not set well with the victims' families. Earlier this week, Worley's parents told ABC11 that they were anxious to know the truth because all of it sounded out-of-character for their son.

Services for Leonard and McNair will be held at Fairmont High School on Sunday afternoon.

A visitation for Worley will be held Saturday from 4 to 7 p.m. at Colvin Funeral Home, 1904 Elizabethtown Road, in Lumberton. His funeral service will be held Sunday at 2 p.m. at Cromartie Temple of Praise, 107 Lessane Street, in Lumberton.

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