Suffolk teen dies in N.C. crash

Published 12:31 pm Saturday, August 8, 2009

A Suffolk teen who died Thursday in a car crash in North Carolina was a big-hearted person who would do anything for anyone, family members said Friday.

Stevon Harris, 17, was coming home from North Carolina when he failed to stop at the intersection of Folly Road and U.S. 158 in Gates County at 1:05 p.m., according to a report filed by North Carolina State Highway Patrol Trooper Nick Harrison. His 1999 Pontiac Grand Am entered the intersection and was struck in the passenger side by a tractor-trailer towing an empty log trailer.

“He would do stuff for other people he wouldn’t even do for his own self,” relative Joyce Chapman said.

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The family gathered at his mother’s home in Burnett’s Mill Friday. About a dozen relatives packed into the living room on folding chairs. The television was on, but nobody was watching it.

“I’m going to keep him in my heart always,” Brenda Randall, his godmother, said.

Family members described Stevon, a King’s Fork High School student, as a sweet person who always smiled.

“He was just like a lovable teddy bear,” Yurica Winnegan, his cousin, said.

Stevon’s mother, Benita Harris, could manage to say only “I love him. I’m deeply hurt.”

Stevon’s uncle, Jonah Mizell, said his nephew had just gotten the car, which was registered in his mother’s name. The teen had never been in trouble in school or at home, he said.

“He always talked quiet,” Mizell said. “He was a good-hearted person, not a trouble-maker.”

Stevon’s aunts — Ann Wilson, Joanne Wilkins and Doris Winnegan — said they will miss him.

“I always will love him,” Wilkins said. “Tell him to rest.”

The tractor-trailer involved in the accident is owned by Douglas Temple & Son, of Elizabeth City, N.C. It was driven by Salvatore Sortino, of Aulander, N.C. Sortino was treated at the scene for minor injuries. No charges have been filed by the highway patrol or by the Motor Carrier Enforcement Division, which investigates all fatal accidents involving a commercially operated motor vehicle.