Rescue Tragedy: Local Firefighter Killed in Wreck

SALISBURY, N.C. – You can see the skid marks on the roadway. A witness says West Liberty volunteer firefighter Michael Goodnight tried to brake on Gold Knob Road Wednesday in Salisbury, but couldn’t stop his red pick up truck from slamming into a Ford Mustang.

The 55-year-old was responding to what he thought was an emergency call. The Mustang, carrying two women who’d run to the store for barbeque supplies, was pulling into the family’s driveway.

North Carolina Highway Patrol says Goodnight tried to pass the Mustang, but t-boned it as it turned left. Goodnight’s truck flipped over and he was killed. 44-year-old Penny Stokes and 18-year-old Sarah Al-Zaid were airlifted to Baptist Hospital in Winston-Salem.

Penny’s brother Chad Carter says Goodnight was going 90 miles an hour. Carter says, “He didn’t have on a seat belt, and you know, if he had a seat belt on, you know, probably have saved his life.”

At the West Liberty Fire Department, where Goodnight served for two years, fellow firefighters and friends gathered to mourn. They draped a truck in black banners and changed the lettering on the sign out front to read “Prayers for the Stokes and Goodnight families.”

The call Goodnight thought he was responding to turned out to be a stalled-out vehicle. Carter says he has this message for others: “People out there, be careful, be aware, pay attention to not just yourself, but other people too. Always wear your seat belt.”

There is no word on the condition of the two women who were in the Mustang. Neighboring fire departments will cover the area for the next few days while West Liberty grieves.