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A night that started in celebration Friday ended in tragedy for a Nash County family left reeling after a car crash ended the lives of two young parents.
“The accident happened at 8. I was notified at 11:36 by two Highway Patrol knocking on my door asking if we were the parents of Amber Wilson, and that is when things got blurry,” said Jeff Lawrence. “My heart was racing. That is something in life you never expect. You don’t expect your kids to die before you and you don’t want someone knocking on your door to tell you that.
“The worst scenario I could think of was playing out.”
According to the N.C. Highway Patrol, Amber Lawrence Wilson was driving a 2010 Honda with Jeffery Allen Wilson Jr. and their 6-month-old son, Jeffery Allen Wilson III, in tow. At 7:53 p.m., officials said the 26-year-old Middlesex woman failed to stop at a stop sign on Finch Road at N.C. 581.
A northbound 2013 Chevrolet SUV driven by McKenzie Renee House, 16, collided with the Honda, and both cars ended up in ditches along the road. Amber Wilson and Jeffery Wilson, 37, died at the scene while the baby and House were both treated at Wake Medical Center.
“We were devastated and shocked,” said Jeffery’s soon-to-be stepmother, Linda Siler. “I couldn’t believe it was real.”
The young couple had just left the rehearsal ceremony at Sims Baptist Church where Linda and Jeffery’s father were set to be married Saturday. The tragedy forced the family to postpone the wedding and focus on planning funerals and caring for the two children left behind — the infant and Jeffery’s 7-year-old daughter, Allison Nicole Wilson.
“He cared about his kids more than his own life. He loved his wife, and his family was his main concern,” said Judy Goff, Jeffery’s mother. “He always put them first, and Amber had the same loving, giving heart. They were perfect together and loved their kids so much.”
Jeffery shared a picture of his children on Facebook two weeks before his death with the caption “my world” while Amber echoed the sentiment in a 2017 post quoting Psalm 4:7. And their loved ones said the couple’s love for each other was obvious whether they were fishing, caring for their menagerie of animals or vacationing.
“They became friends and ended up falling in love,” Goff said. “They were really good together. They were each other’s soulmates.”
Jeffery Wilson worked at Alliance One, but the couple never hesitated to sacrifice to provide for their children or help others.
Goff said it was her son’s generous spirit that she’ll never forget. She recalled when he was a preteen and made Goff stop the car so he could share his meal with a homeless man on a streetcorner.
That spirit continued into adulthood, buying and installing a new mailbox for an elderly Bailey woman and letting a homeless man stay in his camper to get back on his feet.
“Jeffery and Amber could turn any negative into a positive,” Goff recalled.
Lawrence said his daughter was a country girl who learned to fish as a baby at a relative’s pond. She relished the chance to pass the passion on to her children.
“She was a very vibrant, bubbly person who enjoyed life and tried to live it to the fullest,” he said. “She never met anyone she didn’t like or who didn’t like her. She was a joy to be around and she was a good mama.”
Services for Jeffery Wilson were planned Tuesday at Joyner’s Funeral Home. A funeral for Amber Wilson will be held at 2 p.m. Wednesday at Joyner’s.
“They both had great personalities. Amber never stopped laughing,” said Jennifer Rogers, Jeffery’s sister. “He was always joking, but he also was always there for us. He’d drop everything and come running if you needed anything.”