“A tragic situation for all involved,” Forsyth County Sheriff Bobby Kimbrough Jr. said on Facebook Friday when he released the name of the driver he said caused the wreck. “We give our condolences to all who are affected by this.”
The driver, 29-year-old Walnut Cove resident Joseph Brandon Smith, was in a stolen car and refused to stop for deputies before the crash Monday on U.S. 74 West, Kimbrough said.
Madison Grotschel, an 18-year-old from Kernersville, and her boyfriend, 19-year-old Tobaccoville resident Jayce Haverkos, were in the car hit head-on by Smith, WXII reported, citing the North Carolina Highway Patrol.
Deputies began pursuing Smith on Baux Mountain Road near Dolphin Drive in the Germanton area of the county, WGHP reported.
Smith exited onto U.S 74 westbound, WFMY reported. At the bottom of the entrance ramp, he made a U-turn and drove into oncoming traffic, the station reported.
The teens died instantly, Grotschel’s aunt, Tamara Grillone, said on GoFundMe, where the fundraiser she started in her niece’s memory neared its $16,000 goal Saturday.
Her niece was going to graduate high school this month, Grillone said.
“Losing a child is not something our family had planned for,” she wrote on Go Fund Me. “It has been an incredibly difficult few days, and the last thing that my sister should be worried about is covering the cost of her daughter’s funeral.”
By Saturday afternoon, 254 people had donated a total of $15,895.
And 108 people donated $6,068 on a Go Fund Me started by the twin sister of Jayce’s mom. Jayce’s aunt on Gund Fund Me called the loss of the teens “horrible and senseless.”
Wrote a woman who donated $20: “I lost my son in August 2022 at age 31. No parent should have to bury a child. My heart goes out to you all.”
“Our hearts ache for you,” a couple who donated $200 wrote. “Please know we are praying for you all and are sending big hugs and loads of love.”