Family reacts to wreck that killed Beaufort County friends

Family reacts to wreck that killed Beaufort Co. friends (Reporter: Michael Hennessey)

WENDELL, WAKE COUNTY - Two friends from Beaufort County were killed in a Wake County wreck Monday afternoon, and loved ones said they are struggling to deal with the tragedy.

"I can't even, still can't grasp the fact that this happened," said Tammy Moore, the aunt of 21-year-old Roxanne Swanner.

Swanner and 29-year-old Santez "Rico" Keys, both of Washington, were killed in the crash on U.S. Highway 64/264, near Wendell Boulevard in Wendell, according to the Highway Patrol. The two were on their way to visit a friend in Raleigh, family members said.

Troopers said the victims' Honda Civic was traveling westbound at about 4:20 p.m. Monday, when it hit a Chevrolet Aveo while trying to pass it. The Civic then lost control and skid sideways, before a flatbed tractor trailer hit the car at the driver's side. Both Swanner and Keys died at the scene, troopers said.

Swanner's other aunt, Rene Toler, said she had spoken to the victims before they left. But when she didn't hear from them for a while, she grew concerned.

"The last text I sent them was, 'getting a little worried about y'all because you're not replying back, is everything okay?' And of course it wasn't,"Toler said.

Swanner had celebrated her 21st birthday just days before the wreck, her family said.

"She had so much more life in her. It just seems unfair that it got taken so soon," Toler said of her Swanner. "She's gone forever now I never even get to spend any time with her anymore."

"[Swanner's] the daughter I never had," said Moore. "Her wonderful smile, her personality, I mean she was just a very good kid, a very good kid."

Swanner worked with the other victim, Keys, at Blackbeard's in Washington. Swanner's family said Keys was a good friend.

"He was one of those guys who would give you the shirt off his back. He was a good guy," Toler said. "I wish there was something I could say to [his family] to ease the pain a little bit. But it doesn't make it go away."

According to the Swanner family, they are waiting for her mother to drive from Florida to Washington, so they can make funeral arrangements.

Meanwhile, the drivers of the Aveo and the tractor-trailer were not injured, troopers said. They are investigating if the rainy weather was a factor in the wreck.

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