Vigil held in Johnston County for street race crash victims

JOHNSTON COUNTY, N.C. (WTVD) -- More than 50 people filled the lawn front of Greater St. Bethel U.H.C. Church in Middlesex Wednesday evening for a vigil in honor of those killed or injured in a deadly street race over the weekend.

Those at the vigil say Middlesex is a community with deep roots and people with deep ties to one another.

"His mother and I went to school together and we've been friends since probably the third or fourth grade," said Arrington Pulley, a family friend who shares the same first name as his friend's son who was tragically killed.

Arrington Earp, 23, was with his uncle, Garland Earp, 39, Sunday night. The State Highway Patrol said they were among a group of people who gathered to watch a street race on Simon Road near Buck Road around 10:30 p.m.

PHOTOS: Street racing crash

One of the drivers was 37-year-old Jimmy Pearce II. Shortly after the race started, Pearce's car lost control, went off the road, and plowed through a group of spectators before ended up in the trees.

Both Earps were killed along with Undra Taybron, 40, and Carlton Ray Brooks, 42.

Ida Mae Rapa, 42, and Larry Deans, 43, were injured along with Roncellis Marshall, 44.

All were taken to WakeMed. At last check, Deans had been released from the hospital. Marshall was listed in good condition and Rapa was listed in serious condition.

Even though Pearce has since been charged with several counts of second-degree murder as well as assault with a deadly weapon inflicting serious injury, those at Wednesday night's vigil included a prayer for him.

"He's got to feel terrible, his family as well," said Pulley.

Those at the vigil also hope this tragedy brings about change to the well-known dangerous high-speed hobby.

"I think we need to get off the streets and take it to a controlled environment. The track is the place to race. Take it off the streets," said Pulley.

"I've always heard about racing in the area, but this is nothing I expected, such a big loss," said a concerned resident, Valerie Strickland

The search for that second driver involved in the race continues. If you have any information call the State Highway Patrol at 1-800-662-7956.

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