Boy, 10, dies in car crash

By Chuck Hubbard
Wilkes Journal-Patriot

A 10-year-old boy from Concord was killed in a rear-end collision late Wednesday morning on U.S. 421 Business in North Wilkesboro at the intersection with Brickyard Road, according to Officer Jonathan Hayes of the North Wilkesboro Police Department.

Brylan Coward was a passenger in a 2001 Toyota Camry driven by the Rev. Lewis Howard Hall Jr., 57, of North Wilkesboro, Hayes said. He was in the right rear seat of the vehicle and was wearing a seatbelt, the officer said.

Chuck Hubbard | Wilkes Journal-Patriot

Chuck Hubbard | Wilkes Journal-Patriot

Hall is the pastor of the Church of God on Hinshaw Street, North Wilkesboro Police Chief Joe Rankin said. He declined treatment at the scene. Coward is the grandson of Gary and Linda Coward, of Grenco in southern Richmond County.

Two other children — Coward’s cousins — were both in car seats in the rear of the vehicle and were taken to Wilkes Regional Medical Center by Wilkes EMS. They are Bradin Thompson, 8, and Bryson Thompson, 4, both of China Grove, Rankin said. Hall’s wife, Kathy Hall, 58, was also taken to WRMC.

Hall was traveling west around 11:15 a.m. when he stopped for traffic ahead at a stoplight and was hit from behind by a 2004 Toyota Tundra pickup truck driven by Todd Ray Blackburn, 33, of Roaring River, Hayes said. The severe collision left the front of the pickup truck on top of the Camry’s trunk.

Brylan Coward, fatally injured, was trapped in the wreckage of the Toyota Camry and had to be removed by Wilkes Rescue Squad personnel.

Brylan Coward

Brylan Coward

The impact forced the front of the Hall vehicle into the rear of a 2014 Honda driven by Burl Huffman, 72, of Wilkesboro, Rankin said.

Blackburn was taken to Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center by Wilkes EMS, Hayes said. North Wilkesboro first responders and firemen provided assistance at the scene.

Hayes was assisted at the scene by Rankin and others from the police department, including Major Scott Teague, Capt. Randy Bennett and Capt. David Johnson.

U.S. 421 Business was blocked in both directions while the emergency effort was under way.

North Wilkesboro’s last fatality was in 2010 on N.C. 18 North, Rankin noted.

Brylan is the son of Ben and Angela Coward, of Concord. An online fundraiser that aims to accept donations for the Brylan Coward Memorial Fund  through a GoFundMe site has raised $2,105 through 30 donations in five hours. The fundraiser’s stated goal is $2,500.

This article originally appeared in the Wilkes Journal-Patriot and is published here with permission.


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  • Greg Dawkins

    He was probably texting.

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