Dog lost after van rollover found dead

Kevin Spradlin

October 1, 2013

ELLERBE — A 10-year-old pet toy poodle who had been lost since a Sept. 22 traffic accident along Highway 220 south of Ellerbe was found dead on the side of the road Tuesday morning.

It appeared as if the dog had been struck by a vehicle.

“They found the body just 100 yards or so (from where) the accident” took place, said Tommy Williams, a family member who helped spearhead the search. “Closure’s a whole lot better than wondering. We wanted to know.”

Ellie had been lost since Laurinburg residents Margaret Williams, and her sister, Frances Benton, both in their 70s, had wrecked in their passenger van while traveling south along 220 after visiting family in Greensboro. At her advanced age, the dog had medical needs and required a special diet to manage gastrointestinal issues.

The family offered a $600 reward for her safe return, and Tommy Williams, Margaret’s son, said the family was grateful to the more than 100 people and Richmond County sheriff’s deputies who helped in the search. Family members said the dog meant a lot to Margaret Williams because it had originally belonged to her late husband.

“The people in Richmond County have bent over backwards to help us,” Tommy Williams said. “We’d like to share our expression of gratitude for everyone that looked.”

Both Margaret Williams and Benton were airlifted to UNC Chapel Hill Hospital shortly after the mid-Sunday afternoon accident, for which there still is no known cause. Benton “got her feet banged and bruised up” and suffered lacerations to her head. But Margaret Williams, her son said, suffered greatly. Her list of injuries included two fractured vertebrae in her neck, three more in her back and several cracked ribs.

“She walked over 50 feet yesterday,” Tommy Williams said, adding that was a great distance considering her injuries.

Late Friday, Margaret Williams was transferred to Scottish Pines in Laurinburg to continue her medical treatment.

Kevin Spradlin works for Civitas Media as editor of The Richmond County Daily Journal.