SHP: Both Drivers Involved In Fatal Accident Contributed To Crash

BENSON – The State Highway Patrol says both drivers involved in fatal collision on Thanksgiving Day in Johnston County contributed to the accident. One of the drivers, 18 year-old Ana Karen Barron-Gonzal of Garner, died.

The collision was reported at 8:02pm Thursday at the intersection of Highway 50 North and Stephenson Road about seven miles north of Benson. Troopers said Barron-Gonzal was operating a 2009 Toyota east on Stephenson Road and failed to stop for a stop sign at the intersection. Her car was struck in the front right side by a 2014 Chevrolet Corvette traveling northbound on NC 50 and operated by Romell Jaquan Cooper, 31, of Dunn. After the collision, the Toyota overturned off the roadway. The Chevrolet ran off the road to the right.

Barron-Gonzal died from her injuries. Cooper sustained serious injuries and was transported to WakeMed. Neither driver was wearing a seat belt, according to the accident report. There were no passengers.

The report indicated Barron-Gonzal ran through a stop sign and Cooper was speeding when the vehicles collided.

Troopers determined the Toyota was traveling at 42 miles per hour and the Chevrolet 63 miles per hour at the time of impact. The posted speed limit on Highway 50 at the intersection is 55 mph.

No charges were filed against Cooper.

(Photos by Thomas Honeycutt)


  1. Why wasn’t Cooper charged for speeding? His speed contributed to her death. Also, he should be charged for not wearing a seatbelt. The law needs to get it right or things like this will keep on happening.

    • Nope doesn’t work that way. Not taking up for Cooper but he had the Right A Way. Doesn’t matter what he was doing. The one at fault here was the other driver who blew threw a stop sign. The one who blew thru that stop sign violated Coopers right a way. Not his fault the other person died, that person died because they blew thru a stop sign

    • I believe 63 is a safe speed to travel in a 55. If you pass a cop running 63 in a 55, more than likely they are not going to stop you for speeding. This would have never happened had the other driver not failed to stop at the stop sign. It is sad it happened and the Barron-Gonzal family are in my thoughts and prayers. But to charge Cooper for the MVA is not right.

  2. I have lived at this intersection for 43 years and we have said for years there needs to be a caution light. Many people fail to see the stop signs from both sides on Stephenson Rd. and there have been a lot off wrecks because of this. Also, the young lady WAS wearing a seat belt but the man driving the corvette was not.

  3. Sir, her blowing through a posted stop sign contributed to her death. It’s so heartbreaking for families, but this is why drivers must pay attention and not ignore posted signs. I believe 63 is a pretty safe speed in a 55. Rolling through a stop sign at 45 mph, no so much. God bless her family.

  4. You people are so much like the rest of the world. Laws exist, but it is okay to break them and excuse yourself. I do not like being on the highway with you in mind. You are driving unsafely and do not care about others.

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