Wake Forest's Jack Wood, a two-time winner of the SKA championship, and another SKA competitor was killed when the truck in which he was driving slammed into a tanker truck stopped because of a previous wreck.
The chain of events on I-20 west of Augusta, Ga., began just after midnight Nov. 7 and claimed the lives of North Carolina fishermen 56-year-old Wood and 23-year-old Travis Lawson of Morehead City.
Also in the truck with Wood and Lawson was 19-year-old Cecil Holcomb of Raleigh, who was airlifted to Augusta in critical condition and is slowly improving.
According to Taliferro County Sheriff Marc Richards, there were actually two accidents that began when a vehicle headed east on I-20 hit a deer. That vehicle careened across the median and struck the car of Daniel Williams, Augusta, Ga., and killed Williams.
The accident that killed Wood and Lawson occurred roughly a minute later when their truck rammed a tanker truck that had stopped because of the first wreck.
"I don't know if the driver was asleep or depth perception was off, but (the driver of Lawson's truck) never applied the brakes," Sheriff Richards said.
Richards said the impact in that second accident was hard enough that the tanker was pushed forward into another truck and the 30-foot Wellcraft Scarab center-console boat the anglers were towing broke free of the trailer to slide forward and crush the 2500 Series Chevrolet truck in which Wood, Lawson and Holcomb were riding.
Wood, Lawson and Holcomb were traveling from North Carolina to Biloxi, Miss., to compete in the Southern Kingfish Association National Championship Tournament that was held later that week.
Wood, an icon in North Carolina kingfishing circles who had been diagnosed with ALS or Lou Gherig's Disease in 2009, is a two-time winner of the SKA National Championship (1993 and 2000) who was hoping to win the third before his symptoms progressed to prohibit competition.
Lawson and Holcomb were seeking a first win.
Funeral services were held for Travis Lawson at Open Door Baptist Church in Morehead City last Saturday (Nov. 12). Memorial donations may be made to Take a Kid Fishing, PO Box 1191, Morehead City, NC 28557. Condolences may be sent to www.mundenfuneralhome.net/obits/obituary.php?id=121948.
The celebration of the life of Jack Wood is scheduled for 1-4 p.m. tomorrow (Nov. 19) at his home at 4532 Lassiter Road in Wake Forest.
In lieu of flowers, the Wood family requests that donations be made to the Jim "Catfish" Hunter Chapter of the ALS Association. Anyone coming from out of town and needing more information should call Brad Clark at 919.291.3466).