'It just doesn't feel real': Johnston County teen barely escapes double-fatal DWI wreck

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- Hailey Wagner and her brother Stephen are recovering at WakeMed with severe neck and spine injuries. It's going to be a long recovery. But they should recover, at least physically. Emotionally is another story.

Not just for the teens in the hospital, but for their friend who just minutes before the crash, got out of the car.

"I knew it happened to other people. But when it happens to you it just doesn't feel real," 13-year-old Chloe Joyner told us just before making another hospital visit to see Hailey.

RELATED: 15-year-old dies from injuries in Johnston County crash that killed grandmother

Processing trauma at any age is hard, but for Chloe, this one's gut-wrenching.

Hailey Wagner, the reigning Miss Garner Outstanding Teen isn't just Chloe's best friend, she and Chloe are like sisters. They met doing child pageants together. They share the same birthday.

And when Chloe first went to visit Hailey at WakeMed this week, the doctors were still washing the gasoline out of Hailey's hair from the deadly wreck Sunday night.



"I walked in and at that moment I knew I needed to be the one that was strong for Hailey. Because I knew what she was going through and Stephen too."

Hailey and Chloe were returning from the movies Sunday night. Hailey's 14-year old brother Stephen was in the car too, along with 15-year old Ethan Handley.

Haileys grandmother, Marjory Wagner was driving the teens when a suspected drunk driver slammed into them on M. Durwood Stevenson Highway and Wilson Mills Road. Smithfield Police say he was going 90 mph in a 45 mph zone.

Hailey's grandmother was killed and 15-year old Ethan died just hours later.

"My child could have been right there with them very easily," said Chloe's mother Cyndi Joyner.

Just a few minutes before the wreck, Chloe was dropped off at home just 10 miles away.

"They had talked about taking Ethan home first. She could have been right there with them. It's really hard to explain the feeling that I have while still having the remorse of what they're going through," Cyndi said.

Chloe added, "The decisions we made about dropping me off first, instead of Ethan off first, it was just never predictable. And I feel like God knew what was going to happen."

The suspected drunk driver, Felix Juarez-Antunez, had no license to drive and is an undocumented immigrant. He's now being held on an ICE detainer.

In the meantime, friends and families have set up GoFundMe's to help the Wagner Family with growing medical expenses and to support the family of Hailey Wagner.
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