Hope Mills math teacher killed in crash with school bus


It happened Friday at 4:39 p.m. on U.S. Highway 401 at Stockyard Road, which is south of Lillington.

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School officials say bus number 54 from Lillington-Shawtown Elementary was hit from behind by a car driven by 38-year-old William Neil Parnell III, of Lillington. Parnell, who taught at South View High School in Cumberland County, was killed.

State troopers said the bus had stopped to let 11-year-old Josh Wilson get off at his stop.

"The impact was kind of hard," said Josh. "All I heard was breaking glass and I bent over to see what was happening outside the window on this side where the car hit, and it was pretty bad."

The Highway Patrol says there were no skid marks before the crash.

Parnell was reportedly going home from school when he crashed, but investigators don't know what caused the crash.

The school bus driver and her daughter, who was also on the bus, were not hurt.

The accident happened in front of Josh's home.

Josh's mother, Crystal Blackmon, said she was on her way home when she rounded the curved and saw flashing lights around her son's school bus.

"That is something that scares you, being a mom coming around the corner and seeing that," said Blackmon. "It tore my nerves to pieces''

She was relieved when a sheriff's deputy told her that her son was not hurt.

Blackmon said it may take a few days for her nerves to calm down. Josh said he was shaken up too.

"My nerves were all torn to pieces," said Josh. "I felt bad really bad for them."

Cumberland County School Superintendent Dr. Frank Till said grief counselors will be on hand Monday for any students, or teachers who need help at South View High School.

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