Prayer circles continue for student hospitalized after crash

Keith Strange Civitas News Service

September 12, 2013

PILOT MOUNTAIN — Students have gathered almost daily at East Surry High School to hold prayer circles for their classmate injured last week in a wreck on Old Westfield Road.

Jacob Pettitt, a 15-year-old sophomore, remained in critical condition Tuesday at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center after being airlifted from the scene of a single-vehicle accident a week ago.

In addition to the prayer circles, campaigns asked supporters to wear red last Friday and again this Friday as a way of showing their thoughts and prayers are with Pettitt and his family. Special signs will be sold at Friday’s football game at West Stokes for the cause as well.

A large Facebook following is offering a way for others to share their prayers and thoughts with the family, as “Prayer Warriors for Jacob Pettitt and Darragh Boutis.”

According to Sgt. M.W. Whitener of the North Carolina Highway Patrol, a 2010 Nissan Maxima being operated by Pettitt was traveling east on Old Westfield Road at about 8:40 p.m. Sept. 3, when it ran off the right side of the road. Pettitt, who was operating the vehicle under a learner’s permit, reportedly over-corrected and ran off the left side of the road, striking a tree in a T-bone type collision on the passenger side.

Pettitt and passenger Darragh Boutis, 39, described as a family friend, both had to be extricated from the vehicle by Pilot Mountain Rescue Squad members on the scene.

According to officials with the Surry County Schools, Pettitt was a soccer player on the East Surry High School soccer team, and was leaving a soccer game at the school when the accident occurred.

Surry County Emergency Services Director John Shelton described the juvenile’s injuries as “very critical.”

“Both were transferred from the scene by AirCare, and two helicopters were summoned to the scene,” he said. The helicopters landed at the high school’s baseball field.

Boutis was listed in serious but stable condition, according to Shelton.

Sonia Dickerson, a spokeswoman for the county school system, said last Wednesday East Surry High School Principal Diane Beane, an assistant principal at the school and the school’s athletic director “spent a great deal of time at the hospital last night.”

Counselors have been on standby at the school for any students who may need counseling as a result of the crash.

“It’s amazing how two or three seconds can change your life completely,” Shelton said quietly last Wednesday morning.

Whitener said the incident is still under investigation, and no charges will be released due to Pettitt’s age.

Pilot Knob Volunteer Fire Department also assisted.

Keith Strange contributed to this article.