WINDSOR, BERTIE COUNTY - A joint funeral service was held Saturday for a high school senior and his brother, killed in a car crash while heading to the student's graduation.
The funeral for 17-year-old Deonta Whitaker and his brother, 24-year-old Anthony Whitaker, took place at Bertie County High School in Windsor Saturday morning.
According to investigators, the elder Whitaker was driving his younger brother to his commencement ceremony at Bertie County High School, when their vehicle ran off Republican Road and hit a ditch, turned on its side, and hit a tree. The wreck happened at about 11:35 a.m. on Saturday.
Both were pronounced dead at the scene, investigators said. But it was unclear if the victims died on impact. Speed is considered a factor in the crash, according to investigators.
Deonta and Anthony's mother, Sandra McGlone, said the whole family was in the gym waiting for graduation to start, when the principal escorted her out and told her the news.
"Finally, they told us that both of them were deceased," McGlone told NewsChannel 12.
McGlone said she is proud to have raised two respectful boys who were very involved in the school and in the community.
"Deonta was scheduled to graduate. Well, he did graduate. We had his friends there who received his diploma; he just didn't get to walk," McGlone said.
Hope Clark said she and Deonta have been friends since they were young.
"We were always close, always. [He's] forever going to be my brother, both of them," said Clark.
McGlone said Deonta was planning to attend Elizabeth City State University in the fall.