81-year-old charged in crash that killed Mechanicsville couple in Outer Banks

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KITTY HAWK, N.C. (WRIC) — An 81-year-old man has been charged in the crash that killed a Hanover County teacher and her husband in the Outer Banks earlier this week.

Police said Friday that David Archer, of Kill Devil Hills, has been charged with two counts of ‘misdemeanor death by motor vehicle’ and one traffic infraction.

Investigators say Archer suffered an ‘unknown medical condition’ or fell asleep behind the wheel, which led to him striking and killing 40-year-old Holly Nicolette and 37-year-old Alan Nicolette.

“This is a very unfortunate and sad incident and we ask that you please pray for the families and friends of the victims during this difficult time,’ the Kitty Hawk Police Department said in a release.

A Hanover County Public Schools spokesperson said H. Nicolette was a 4th and 5th-grade teacher at South Anna Elementary School. 

“We are heartbroken to learn of the tragic death of Holly Nicolette and her husband. We extend our deepest sympathy to her family and loved ones for their devastating and unimaginable loss. We are grateful for her dedicated service to Hanover County Public Schools and the positive impact that she had on the lives of her students and colleagues. We will provide extra support to our students and staff as they return to school on Monday and begin dealing with this incredibly sad loss,” Superintendent Dr. Michael Gill said. 

The Kitty Hawk Police Department said that a family group of six people was walking north along the southbound shoulder of North Carolina Highway 12 near Maynard Street around 2:30 p.m. when they were hit from behind.

Police said the person driving the pickup truck was traveling northbound when they possibly fell asleep or had a medical incident at the wheel, and crossed the center line. 

The couple was flown to Sentara Norfolk General Hospital where they later died, police said. A child who was also hit was treated and released from the Outer Banks Hospital. 

The couple’s next-door neighbor remembers the Nicolettes as generous souls.

“It’s hard that you know your neighbors, let alone you’ve got good neighbors. The Nicolettes were great neighbors,” says Rachal Sagar, “It was a gut punch.”

Sagar explains the family hosted open-air movie nights and barbecues for their cul de sac. She adds their loss will leave a large void in the neighborhood.

“To know that things have changed,” Sagar says, “It’s going to take some time to kind of get my head wrapped around that.” 

The driver was also transported to the Outer Banks Hospital and was admitted for observation. 

Charges are pending against the driver, police said. 

“I would ask that you please keep all family and friends of the victims in your thoughts and prayers during this difficult time,” the Kitty Hawk Police Department said in a press release. 

The principal of South Anna ES sent the following message to families, facility and staff of the school regarding Nicolette’s passing: 

I am writing to share heartbreaking news with you.  Yesterday evening, I was informed of the sudden passing of one of our 5th-grade teachers, Mrs. Nicolette, and her husband who were involved in a tragic accident while on vacation in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina.  On behalf of the entire South Anna community, I want to extend our deepest sympathy to their family and loved ones for their unimaginable loss.

Mrs. Nicolette served as a 4th and 5th-grade teacher at South Anna for 13 years.  During this time, she touched us all with her wonderful sense of humor, strong work ethic, and dedication.  For those of you who knew her, we ask that you remember and celebrate her service to our school, commitment to children, and dedication to the teaching profession.  For those of you who did not know Mrs. Nicolette, we ask that you support us with your understanding and patience as we navigate through this heartache.

As we mourn the loss of Mrs. Nicolette, your son or daughter may approach you with questions and experience a sense of loss.  I want to assure you that our staff will be ready to meet the needs of our students beginning on Monday morning. Additional school counselors will also be on-site to provide direct assistance to students and staff who may need extra support.  Additionally, I encourage you to have a conversation with your child about the loss of one of our teachers before returning to school on Monday. As parents, you know best how to approach discussing this sensitive issue and tragic loss with your child.

Again, on behalf of South Anna Elementary School, I want to extend our sincerest condolences to Holly and her husband’s children, family, and friends in this time of immense loss and sadness.  As always, please feel free to contact me or any of our staff members with any specific needs that you or your son or daughter may have during this very difficult time.

A GoFundMe page titled “Support for the Nicolette Family” was put up on Wednesday. 

Stay with 8News for updates on this developing story. 

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