High school student, UNC professor killed in Chatham County crash

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The State Highway Patrol is investigating a double fatal crash that happened about 8 a.m. Monday on U.S. Highway 15/501 in Chatham County near Pittsboro. (WTVD)

The State Highway Patrol is investigating a double fatal crash that happened about 8 a.m. Monday on U.S. Highway 15/501 in Chatham County near Pittsboro.

Troopers said a 1999 Chevrolet Tahoe was traveling south on U.S. 15/501 near Ruth Lane when it traveled into the median and began to overturn. The Tahoe then continued into the northbound lanes where it traveled into the path of a 2011 Toyota Camry.

The driver of the Camry swerved to the right, avoiding a head-on collision, before coming to rest against the shoulder's guardrail. The Tahoe continued to rollover, landing on top of a 2008 Toyota Camry before coming to a final rest.

As result of the collision, both the driver of the Tahoe and the 2008 Camry died.

The driver of the Tahoe was identified as 18-year-old Yolanda Gonzalez-Saavedra, of Chapel Hill. She was a student at Northwood High School. A 14-year-old passenger, who was Yolanda's sister, was taken to UNC-Chapel Hill Hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

Lt. Col. John Collins


The driver of the 2008 Camry has been identified as John Wade Collins, 44, of Pinehurst. Collins was a lieutenant colonel and was the commander of AFROTC Detachment 590. Collins was also the Chair of the Department of Aerospace Studies at UNC.

The driver of the 2011 Camry, Kelly Felicia Scurlock Cross, 45, of Sanford, was transported to UNC-Chapel Hill Hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

The school district said it has counselors at the school for students and staff members.

UNC did not release an official statement but said the university is in mourning over Collins' death.

At last check, it was unclear what caused the crash. The investigation continues.

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