Whitesburg KY

Woman, 61, reported missing from N.C. minutes after fatal accident

A husband became worried Monday night when his 61-year-old wife never returned from grocery shopping in a small town in North Carolina. He reported her missing to police and soon learned she had died in a head-on collision February 25 near Letcher County, more than a four-hour drive from her home.

Kentucky State Police said Betty Joe Randolph, 61, of Boger City, N.C., was driving north on US 23 in a southbound lane at the Pike/ Letcher County line when her vehicle collided head-on with a vehicle driven by Suzette Johnston, 32, of 159 Beefhide Creek Road, in Pike County.

The driver of the second vehicle, Suzette Johnston, was airlifted to Cabell Huntington Hospital in West Virginia. Quiton Johnston, a passenger in Suzette Johnston’s vehicle, was transported by ambulance to Pikeville Medical Center and then flown to Holston Valley Hospital in Kingsport, Tenn.

Randolph was pronounced dead at the scene by Pike County Coroner Russell Roberts.

Jim Etters, a detective with the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Department in North Carolina, said Randolph’s husband called at 9:13 p.m. Monday night and said he was worried that his wife had not returned home from the store. Etters entered Randolph’s information into a computer database and learned that she had been involved in a fatal wreck at 8:23 p.m.

Etters did not know why Randolph had driven so far from home.

Boger City, located about 200 miles from Letcher County near the city of Lincolnton, in the central part of North Carolina. The town had a population of 554 when the census was taken in 2000.

Police said everyone in the wreck was wearing seat belts.

The case is still under investigation by Kentucky State Police Trooper Derek Sturgill.

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