Breaking News update: ESHS sophomore in critical condition following Tuesday wreck

Keith Strange Staff Reporter

September 4, 2013

PILOT MOUNTAIN — A 15-year-old sophomore at East Surry High School remains in critical condition at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center after being airlifted from the scene of a single-vehicle accident Tuesday night.

According to Sgt. M.W. Whitener of the North Carolina Highway Patrol, a 2010 Nissan Maxima being operated by Jacob Pettitt, 15, was traveling east on Old Westfield Road at about 8:40 p.m., when it ran off the right side of the road. Pettitt, who was operating the vehicle under a learner’s permit, reportedly overcorrected and ran off the left side of the road, striking a tree in a T-bone type collision on the passenger side.

Pettitt and passenger Darragh Boutis, 39, described as a family friend, both had to be extricated from the vehicle by rescue workers on the scene.

According to officials with the Surry County Schools, Pettitt was a soccer player on the East Surry High School soccer team, and was leaving a soccer game at the school when the accident occurred.

Surry County Emergency Services Director John Shelton described the juvenile’s injuries as “very critical.”

“Both were transferred from the scene by AirCare, and two helicopters were summoned to the scene,” he said. The helicopters landed at the high school’s baseball field.

Boutis was listed in serious but stable condition, according to Shelton.

Sonia Dickerson, a spokeswoman for the county school system, said East Surry High School Principal Diane Beane, an assistant principal at the school and the school’s athletic director “spent a great deal of time at the hospital last night.”

“The principal is still at the hospital today,” she said.

Wednesday morning, East Surry students organized and led a prayer circle to pray for Pettitt and Boutis.

Counselors are on standby at the school for any students who may need counseling as a result of the crash.

“It’s amazing how two or three seconds can change your life completely,” Shelton said quietly Wednesday morning.

Whitener said the incident is still under investigation, and no charges will be released due to Pettitt’s age.

Reach Keith Strange at or 719-1929.