Hope Mills community remembers South View High School teacher killed in crash with school bus


A popular high school math teacher was killed in a crash Friday, and Tuesday that community remembered him together.

Students and staff met and prayed around the flag pole at South View High School Tuesday morning. The family of the teacher who was killed, and what his 12-year-old son said, brought tears to everyone's eyes.

"He was a good Dad. For my birthday he got me a PS3. And [May 13 is] my birthday. And he took good care of us. He cared about us and loved us," said Will Parnell, the victim's son.

William Neil Parnell III was killed in a crash Friday after school. Investigators do not know why, but his car crashed into the back of a school bus. Will was with him just moments before.

"And he said I love you and I'll see you Monday and I said the same," Will said. "And that was the last time I saw him."

On Tuesday, students and staff met around the school's flagpole and remembered the teacher that made such an impact.

"[He was] One of the most brilliant people I've ever met. One of the most humorous, and one of the most sarcastic, but just a great person," said Brian Edkins, South View High School Principal.

"He helped me make the decision that no matter how tough things get, I can't quit," said Alexandra Morrison, a South View High School senior. "I wanted to quit calculus it was so tough, it was the hardest class I ever had to take...but he kept me going and I think a lot of kids learned that from him."

A lesson students at South View are testing this year.

Danielle Locklear was a freshman at the school before she was murdered and dumped in a river back in March. Now the community is dealing with tragedy again.

"Whenever I see kids hurting, that's what's tough on me as a principal," Edkins said.

In addition, a little boy is learning to live life without a dad.

"I want people to remember him as a good teacher and a good friend...and for me and my brother, a good parent," Will said. "When I was born, he entered me in the NC State Wolfpack membership and I hope to go to NC State like he did and then work here in this classroom."

Will plans to speak at his father's funeral service, which will be held Wednesday at 7 p.m. at Parrish Funeral Home in Selma.

Along with Will, Parnell leaves behind a 6-year-old son and a 1-year-old daughter.

Will says now that his dad is gone, he will take good care of them.

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