A well-loved Richmond County native and former high school band instructor was killed Friday when a freight train hit the car he was in near the Raleigh-Durham International Airport.
John Burl Hudson, 57, of Southern Pines, died along with his wife Fiona Frances Hudson, 55, also of Southern Pines when their car was hit in Morrisville around 10 p.m. Friday. Officials investigating the crash told media outlets it appeared the car became stuck between stop arms which had come down to warn drivers about the train.
It is not known how the train became stuck or why the occupants of the car were unable to get out of their vehicle.
Hudson is a former resident of Richmond County’s Cordova community. He was the first band instructor at Triton High School near the Harnett County town of Erwin when the school opened in the late 1980s.
He worked with former Principal and Assistant Principal Dan Honeycutt, who said he maintained contact with Hudson as he progressed through his career.
“I just remember John was a dynamic instructor who ran a quality program,” Honeycutt said. “He had a lot of students and anything they did, they did well.”
Honeycutt said Hudson taught at Triton High School for about eight years. He later taught at several locations in the southeastern part of North Carolina, including in Hoke County. Hudson’s Facebook page indicates he continued to teach music in Bladen County.
He reports on the site that he had three children at the time of his death. Music continued to be part of his life. He was an avid guitarist who was learning to play the banjo.
Businesswoman Terry Johnson knew Hudson from both his days at Erwin and Triton high schools.
“He introduced me to music and encouraged me to work hard at it,” Johnson said. “So sad to hear of his death along with his wife. My prayers to their family and friends.”
Hudson’s personal Facebook page quickly filled with memorials to the popular teacher Tuesday afternoon. Former teacher Madie McDougald posted that she hoped Hudson would “play a little music for the angels.”
Mike Hair posted a sad remembrance.
“My heart is heavy with your passing, my friend,” Hair wrote.