PITTSBORO — The Northwood High School community is still reeling following a car accident on Old Graham Road Saturday night which killed one student and critically injured another.
Bryan Vilchis, an 18-year-old junior at Northwood who played football his first two years at the school, died in the accident. The injured student, 16-year-old sophomore Desmond "Junior" Patterson, is in critical condition at UNC Hospitals.
In an email sent to parents, the school said social workers and counselors would be on-site to offer support to students and staff members on Monday.
“My heart aches for these families,” Superintendent Dr. Anthony Jackson said in a district release on Monday. “We mourn with the Northwood community the loss of a vibrant young life.”
A post on the Northwood Marching Charger Band’s Facebook page said Vilchis “passed away in an unfortunate accident while trying to pass someone and lost control of the wheel."
Vilchis was driving at least 90 miles per hour, Chatham State Highway Patrol told the News + Record, when he ran off the road, crossed the center line and then overcorrected and hit a tree — at an over an 80 MPH speed. By Monday, a memorial adorned with flowers, crosses and a teddy bear was erected at the site of the crash.
"He was a good man with a great heart and someone everyone loved and got along with," the Northwood band post said. "Please keep Des and Bryan’s family in your thought and prayers.”
The post contained a link to a GoFundMe page launched to help cover Vilchis’ funeral expenses and other costs. The page can be found here. The GoFundMe has a goal of $15,000; nearly $11,000 had been raised by Tuesday evening.
Patterson's brother, Tauvaris Barrett, also started a GoFundMe page for Patterson in anticipation of large medical bills and the potential need for rehabiliative therapy. Nearly $7,000 of the page's $15,000 goal has been raised by Tuesday morning. By the time the News + Record went to press Tuesday evening, the goal had been increased to $20,000 and more than $15,000 raised.
"It would mean so much to Des and our family if you can contribute whatever you can to Des’ medical expenses. Please continue to send positive energy into the universe and keep Des in your prayers for a speedy recovery," Barrett wrote on the page. "All we can do is remain hopeful and leave it with God’s will. Thank you so much for taking the time to read this and think about Desmond and our family."
Since being admitted to the hospital, he said, Patterson had two strokes, several surgeries and is currently relying on life support. Barrett said his brother is "slowly showing signs of improvement over time."
A prayer vigil for Patterson will be held by Mt. Zion Missionary Baptist Church and Chapel of the Pines Presbyerian Church on Sunday, Oct. 31 at 4:00 p.m. under the oak trees at Mt. Zion.
“These young men are part of our school family,” Northwood Principal Bradford Walston said in the district release. “Our hearts are with their families during this incredibly difficult time. We want to support them and support our students through this.”
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