Flowers, candles and messages of love now mark the spot of a crash that took the life of a young Havelock woman.
Janie Carol-lyn Queen, 20, died Thursday when the car she was driving left the road near the approach to an aging bridge and plunged into Slocum Creek.
The crash happened shortly before 3 p.m. at the Church Road Bridge, which is scheduled to be closed permanently on Monday.
Queen was pronounced dead at the scene after her body was recovered from the submerged car, according to a Friday release from the Havelock Police Department.
Now a make-shift memorial has been created at the corner of the bridge with several people leaving flowers. A large poster simply reads "We love you Janie."
Queen was a 2010 graduate of Havelock High School. She was a former cheerleader and softball player, and participated in the music program during high school.
There is an effort on to wear white ribbons in Queen's honor. Those planning to attend tonight's Havelock High home football game against West Carteret are being asked to wear white ribbons as well.
Friends went to social media sites to post messages of love for Queen and support for her family.
“I feel like there is no way this is real I can’t believe it. You were the nicest person and only the good die young! Until we meet again. I love you & rest in peace!” Brittany Elizabeth posted on Facebook.
“I know you’re in a better place and I’m praying hard for your family. You’ll be in everyone’s hearts including mine,” posted Emma K. McClellan.
“We lost a very special, beautiful, careful loving person today. … heaven gained a beautiful angel,” posted Rushanna Brumbkow Hughes.
"Thank you for all of the wonderful memories,” Brianna McMahon said in a post. “You truly were a beautiful person inside and out! Your wonderful smile, contagious laugh, and genuine love for life will be forever missed. Although your life was short you made a huge impact on everyone who had the privilege to meet you. I will always consider it a blessing to have held you as one of my closest friends. I’m sitting here tonight with a very heavy heart, but I’m finding some happiness knowing that you are in a better place. God has received a beautiful and wonderful angel. I will miss you so much Janie. Rest in peace beautiful girl."
Two witnesses, a nearby power crewman and the first police officer to arrive on the scene went into the water in an attempt to get to Queen shortly after the crash. However, the car was in about 20 to 25 feet of water, and they were unable to reach her.
Colin Smith, the executive officer at the U.S. Coast Guard Station at Emerald Isle, Brandon Miller, who had just returned from deployment as part of Marine Tactical Electronic Warfare Squadron 2 at Cherry Point, and Havelock Police Lt. Brian Woods all went into the water in an attempt to save the driver after an unidentified MasTec lineman had attempted a rescue.
Smith said he was on his way home from Virginia when he saw a man run across the street and others nearby.
“I saw the headlights of the car and I ran as fast as I could to get down there.” Smith said.
He said it took only a few seconds to get to the banks of the creek but the car had already submerged.
Miller was on his way to the Navy Federal Credit Union when he stopped to help and jumped into the water.
“These guys were running around and I stopped and went down there,” he said. “They said there was a lady in the water and I jumped in. I could feel the heat from the exhaust but I couldn’t get to it. Everybody was looking around and had a worried look on their face.”
Both Smith and Miller said they had had rescue swimmer training but neither man was able reach the vehicle.
“I’ve got my WSQ (water survival qualification) but I couldn’t do that,” Miller said.
Both men said the dark water made seeing under the surface impossible and that the cold water temperature made holding their breath for a long period difficult.
“When we dove underneath you could hear the engine running,” said Smith, who had at one point a hammer to attempt to smash the windows of the sunken car and also used a rope in an attempt to reach the vehicle.
A dive team from Atlantic Beach Fire Department was called to the scene and recovered Queen's body about 15 minutes later.
Queen was heading east on the service road in front of the Hampton Inn. As the road curves to enter the Church Road Bridge, the vehicle kept going straight, went down the embankment next to the bridge and into the water. There were no noticeable skid marks on the service road near where the car left the road.
The Havelock Police Department is investigating and has not determined a cause of the crash.
Both lanes of the road and bridge were open at the time of the crash, despite the work of power crews working nearby to reroute lines in anticipation of demolition of the old bridge and construction of a new one.
Construction crews have been in the area of the crash for weeks as work to demolish the 88-year-old Church Road Bridge progresses. Power poles had to be relocated and lines rerouted in anticipation of the construction of the new bridge, which will parallel U.S. 70 and connect the services roads in front of the Hampton Inn on the west side of the creek and in front of the Subway on the east side of the creek.
Though crews were in the area at the time of the crash, they were not specifically working close to the crash site. A Division of Highways lighted sign warns drivers of the impending bridge closure by the service road in front of the Hampton Inn. There were also orange cones nearby off to the side of the road.