Memorial Service Set For Monday For Fallen Salisbury Firefighter

SALISBURY, N.C. – A full house at the West Liberty Fire house in Salisbury Thursday. Family and friends, gathered to remember 55-year-old Michael Goodnight. His sister, Judy Burris, says, “He did love his friends here at Liberty Fire department. (They were) his passion.”

You can see skid marks on Gold Knob Road in Salisbury where a witness tells us Goodnight tried to brake, but couldn’t stop his red pick up truck from slamming into a silver Mustang carrying two women Wednesday afternoon. Goodnight, a volunteer firefighter for the West Liberty Fire Department for two years, was responding to what he thought was an emergency call.

Burris says through tears, “So hard. Any my sympathies goes out to the family of the people in the other vehicle. I sincerely apologize for what happened. And I know he didn’t do that intentionally.”

The women Goodnight hit – 44-year-old Penny Stokes and 18-year-old Sarah Al Zaid – were airlifted to Baptist Hospital in Winston-Salem. Today, Stokes’ brother tells us she has a broken hip, broken bone in her face, and head injuries.

Fire Chief Darrin Trexler says Goodnight was a good influence on the younger firefighters in the house. “He was as dedicated the first day he got here as he was yesterday,” and, “He would do as much for you as he would for his family.”

Diane Goodman, a friend of Goodnight’s, says, “I’ve known Michael Goodnight a long time. He was a good feller. He would do anything in the world for anybody.”

Another longtime friend says the community pulls together in times like this: “When we lose somebody, it’s a time for reflection.”

Penny Stokes was released from the hospital to attend a funeral service for her father, who died this week. She’ll return to the hospital for surgery and more treatment. We are told the other woman in the car is expected to be released from the hospital soon.

Memorial services for Michael Goodnight will be held on Monday, July 9th at West Liberty Fire Department, 135 Saint Matthews Church Road, in Salisbury.

Visitation will begin at 11:00am followed by the memorial service, which will begin at 1:00pm.