Mom, 11-year-old daughter dead after SUV, tractor-trailer collide head-on in Harnett County

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Tuesday, May 21, 2019
Crash claims 2 lives in Harnett County
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Crash claims 2 lives in Harnett County

HARNETT COUNTY, N.C. (WTVD) -- A mother and her 11-year-old daughter died following a head-on collision between an SUV and a tractor-trailer. The girl's 11-year-old twin sister was also injured in the crash.

The crash happened around 12:30 Tuesday morning on U.S. 421 North in Harnett County.

According to NC State Highway Patrol, 46-year-old Venita Greene Vandergriff, of Lillington, was headed north when her SUV crossed the center line and collided head-on with a tractor-trailer.

Vandergriff and 11-year-old Zariyah Denise Vandergriff were pronounced dead on scene. An 11-year-old who was also in the SUV was taken to taken to Cape Fear Valley Medical Center. Her condition is unknown.

North Carolina State Highway Patrol said the young girls were twins and Venita was their mother.

"They had to cut out the girl," said Wanda Norris, who witnessed the crash.

She said first responders frantically tried to save both girls.

"I just hope the girl makes it," she said, of the 11-year-old who survived. "They say it was pretty bad."

Venita was a Pre-K teacher at a Fuquay-Varina daycare center. She just celebrated her 12-year anniversary.

Ready or Not, Here I Grow Executive Director Stephanie Skinley said she was someone who was always positive and compassionate.

"Definitely put others first, had a smile on her face constantly, never complained, just a very loving and affectionate towards the children in her classroom," said Skinley. "It's definitely not anything that's going to be easy to get over any time soon. She will be irreplaceable."