'Too many wrecks': Mother and 11-year-old daughter killed at dangerous intersection in Johnston Co.

Akilah Davis Image
Tuesday, April 18, 2023
Mother and daughter killed in crash at dangerous intersection
The mother and daughter killed in a Johnston County crash on Friday were visiting family for spring break

BENSON, N.C. (WTVD) -- The mother and her 11-year-old daughter killed in a Johnston County crash on Friday were visiting family for spring break.

The crash happened at Dragstrip Road and NC 242. Investigators said Kiara Shalimar Guadalupe-Mercado, 30, of Fayetteville, drove through a stop sign in a Jeep and was hit by an oncoming dump truck. Jennifer Camillo-Melendez, 37, and her 11-year-old daughter, Mikaela Camillo, were sitting in the backseat without a seatbelt; they did not survive the crash. Camillo's older sister was ejected from the vehicle and is in critical condition at WakeMed.

Camillo-Melendez's husband and father of their children left the family's New Orleans home and came to North Carolina as soon as he heard about the tragedy.

"I think he's trying his best to cope right now," Liz Melendreras, a family friend, told ABC11. Melendreras has set up a GoFundMe to help raise money for the family.

"I can't even put it into words, to be honest," Melendreras said.

The driver of the dump truck, Nikin Henry, 28, was taken to the hospital with minor injuries.

Guadalupe-Mercado has been charged with two counts of misdemeanor death by vehicle, two counts of child restraint violation, and a failure to stop at a stop sign.

"Too many wrecks and too many lives lost," Johnny Meeks said. Meeks is an employee at McLamb's Gas and Supply near the intersection. He said he's seen too many crashes there through the years.

NCDOT said the intersection has seen seven crashes in the last four years.

Meeks said local drivers know the intersection is a problem. He wants the state to set up a four-way stop there to help save lives.

"I would like to see a four-way stop with a caution light over the intersection so people can see before they get to the signs and see the blinking lights," he said.

NCDOT said it would investigate the intersection to see whether it needs additional safety measures.