News Index

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Thursday
Oct112007

5-mile Stretch of 421 Named in Honor of Benny Parsons

Gov. Mike Easley today joined other state and local officals, as well as members of the NASCAR racing community, to dedicate a five-mile stretch of U.S. 421 in Wilkes County from the Watauga County line to the community of Maple Springs in honor of famed racecar driver and Emmy-award winning commentator Benny Parsons. A ceremony officially naming the highway for Parsons was held on the grounds of the Benny Parsons Racing Museum in Wilkesboro.

“Over the course of his career Benny achieved numerous accolades for his work as both a racecar driver and a commentator, becoming a household name among those who follow the sport of racing,” Easley said. “Naming this highway in his honor helps recognize the lasting contribution he made to an industry that was born in North Carolina and continues to play an important role in the culture and economy of our state.”

A Wilkes County native, Parsons began his racing career in 1963 and was a successful driver for both the Automobile Racing Club of America and NASCAR until his retirement in 1988. He then became known for his work as a racing commentator, which included hosting the internationally syndicated radio show “Fast Talk with Benny Parsons/Performance Racing Network (PRN) Radio” and serving as a color commentator for NASCAR on the TNT, NBC and ESPN television networks.

Parsons was inducted into the International Motor Sports Hall of Fame in 1994 and the Motor Sports Hall of Fame of America in 2006. He has been honored with the North Carolina Motorsports Industry Lifetime Tribute Award, National Motor Sports Press Association Award, Meyers Brothers Award and North Carolina’s Order of the Long Leaf Pine.

The Wilkes County Board of Commissioners requested the road naming, and the N.C. Board of Transportation passed a resolution dedicating the stretch of highway in Parsons’ honor in September 2006. Parsons passed away in January.

Thursday
Oct112007

Wilkes Man Critically Hurt in Elledge Mill Road Wreck

A preliminary report indicates speed is to blame for the wreck that caused critical injuries to a Wilkes man overnight. The highway patrol says 21-year old Larry Wayne Koenig was driving at a high rate of speed on Elledge Mill Road about midnight, when he lost control. The trooper says Koenig went off the right side of the road, over-corrected and slid off the left side of the road, and hit a fence, which started the vehicle into a roll. He flipped into a mailbox and landed against a tree, upside down. Rescue workers had to extricate him from the car before he could be rushed to Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem. Because the report is not complete, officials are not saying what factors other than speed played into the wreck.

Thursday
Oct112007

Bethany Ford Rd. Wreck Injures 3

The North Carolina Highway patrol says a two-vehicle collision last night on Bethany Ford Road resulted in two people being taken to Baptist Medical Center with critical injuries. Trooper Hatcher tells me Julie Covarrubias-Aguilar of Ronda was southbound on Bethany Ford when the wreck happened about 6 last night:

Hatcher identified the occupants of the other vehicle as Shirley and James Shumate from North Wilkesboro.One of them was airlifted, and the other was taken by ground ambulance directly to Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem. He did not know which person went by air. Covarrubias-Aguilar, who will receive a ticket for left of center, was taken by ambulance to Wilkes Regional Medical Center. Hospital officials have not released the condition of any of the three.

Wednesday
Oct102007

Man Accused of Pointing Shotgun at Deputies

One Wilkes man is pretty fortunate he didn't get shot, after he waved a shotgun at a group of deputies last night. Several deputies were called to the home of Robert Stewart in Mountain View, when family members got worried that he would harm himself or others. He had been drinking, they told dispatchers. Deputies gathered outside while they were waiting on a rescue squad to arrive in case anyone needed medical help. Stewart came out of the house, according to one of the deputies, and started waving the .410 shotgun at the group and telling them to get back. The deputy doesn't go into detail about how the group eventually took down Stewart, but it was apparently done without any serious injuries to anyone. As they were getting Stewart under control. His son Lonnie decided to join in the fray and ended up getting himself arrested, too. Robert Stewart is charged with drunk and disorderly and with pointing a weapon at people with the intent to scare them. Lonnie was charged with obstructing the deputies in their duties.

Wednesday
Oct102007

Tysons Feed Mill in Roaring River Catches Fire

Firefighters from three departments were called out to a blaze at the Tyson Feed Mill in Roaring River last night. Roaring River Fire Chief Dale Pierce explains what happened:

Pierce says although the damage is inconvenient to clean up, the dollar value of it will not be that substantial. Firefighters from Roaring River, Ronda and Knotville helped with battling the flames.

Wednesday
Oct102007

Dark Tinted Windows May Earn You A Ticket

If you're one of those people who have added tint to your car windows, be ready to be stopped by State Troopers. The highway patrol has announced a crackdown on window tinting, which by state law can have only 35-percent opacity. Many after-market tints are much darker, and you can be given a ticket or be forced to remove the tint. Troopers now carry meters that measure the opacity, so it's no longer the word of the trooper against the word of the driver.

Wednesday
Oct102007

Part of US 421 to be Dedicated in Memory of Benny Parsons

Part of U-S 421 west of Wilkesboro will be named after the late Benny Parsons. The ceremony will be held at 11 Thursday morning in the parking lot behind the new Benny Parsons Museum beside the highway, but people will need to ride shuttle buses from Lowe’s Park at River’s Edge. The shuttle service starts at 9:30 a.m. To get to the shuttle service, from U.S. 421 take exit 286-B, which is the exit for Wilkes Community College and N.C. 268. After the traffic signal, go west about one mile on 268 and turn right onto Stokes Street. Go to the stop sign and turn left.
DOT Secretary Lyndo Tippett and N.C. Board of Transportation member Arnold Lakey will join other state and local officials in dedicating the section of U.S. 421 from the Wilkes/Watauga line to the Maple Springs community in Wilkes County in memory of Parsons, who died earlier this year.

Wednesday
Oct102007

Tyson Feed Plant Fire

Wilkes county firefighters spent several hours putting out a fire at the Tyson feed processing plant in Roaring River last night. Dispatchers say the fire was reported about 10pm, and at least three fire departments were called, including Roaring River and Ronda firefighters. Firefighters were being sent home by shortly after midnight. The cause of the fire is under investigation, and Fire Marshall's office personnel weren't available early this morning to discuss the damage or the fire response. No injuries have been reported.

Tuesday
Oct092007

Washer Given, Tools Stolen

A woman who was trying to be nice to a relative ended up being taken advantage of by someone in the situation -- deputies are still trying to determine exactly who. The woman had agreed to give her nephew a washing machine, and he came over with a friend last Wednesday to pick it up. She says she watched the pair out the window as they loaded the washer, but did not keep an eye on them the whole time. On Sunday she went out to the storage shed where the washer had been, and discovered several other items missing. The total value of the stolen tools is over 14-hundred dollars. THe woman says she confronted her nephew about it, and he denied any involvement. The other person has not been seen. Deputies list the case as under investigation.

Tuesday
Oct092007

Infant Accidentally Locked in Pickup

A sheriff's deputy had to break into a pickup in a local store parking lot yesterday, after the mother of a three-month old accidentally locked the infant in the car. The deputy was called to the Dollar General on HIghway 16 South about 3:30 yesterday afternoon. The boy's mother says she put her son in his car seat, shut the back door, and realized as the door clicked shut that her keys were laying on the seat next to him. All the doors were locked, and from the deputy's observation, it looked like the baby boy was getting hot. After gaining the mother's permission to break out the pickup's back window, the deputy did so and unlocked the truck. Paramedics were called to check out the boy, but his mother decided to take him to the hospital herself. The incident is being treated as an accident, and there are no charges anticipated against the mother.