WILSON, N.C. (WNCN) — Annette Lucas couldn’t help but feel her heart drop after seeing a photo shared on social media.
The photo showed several headstones at Rest Haven Cemetery that had been destroyed and left in pieces.
“The graveyard is for people to have peace and peace of mind… I just thank God that they didn’t do my mother’s tombstone like that,” said Lucas.
Wilson police said they responded to crash Saturday where witnesses told them a car ran off the road and smashed into several of the headstones at the site.
They said the driver and passenger left the car and fled the scene in another vehicle. Officers said the crash left 12 headstones destroyed.
Wilson Cemetery Commission Leader, Heather Goff, said Rest Haven is Wilson’s largest African-American cemetery. She said crews at the cemetery have been cleaning and picking up the area since the crash and working to identify the destroyed headstones.
Goff said some families have already been contacted.
A local pastor said that several families went to the cemetery after hearing about the crash to check on headstones belonging to relatives.
“I have a godfather who is right here in this section and luckily his was not destroyed, but it still doesn’t make it easier for others who had to go through that and come out to see their loved one’s grave destroyed.”
The pastor said some families are still grieving after losing a loved one — and now dealing with this.
The Wilson Cemetery Commission said damaged property will be replaced but also said replacing the headstones will come with a process and a price — some of the headstones cost nearly $5,000.
Goff said insurance should be able to cover the cost of replacements but they are waiting to learn more while the investigation is underway.
The Wilson Police Department is encouraging anyone with information regarding this case to contact the Wilson officers at 252-399-2323 or Crime Stoppers at 252-243-2255.