Jarretts Crew Chief Loses Wife
September 11, 2003 | 3:52 P.M. EST
Tara Howell Parker, 29, died late Wednesday in the interstate accident, police said. Parker was the wife of Shawn Parker, crew chief for Jarrett's No. 88 Robert Yates Racing team.
"I can't put into words the grief we feel,'' Yates said. "We are all in shock right now. All we can do is support Shawn and what he needs to do as well as Tara's family.''
Megan Elizabeth Howell, 16, and Mysti Howell Poplin, 24, both of Mocksville, also died, police said. All three were passengers in the limousine.
Police said the limousine stopped in a travel lane because of construction on Interstate 40. It was struck by a pickup truck driven by Jeffrey Niles McFayden of Greensboro. The truck pushed the limousine into the car in front of it and a gasoline tank ruptured, causing the limo to burst into flames, police said.
The limousine driver and the driver and a passenger in the front car were not injured.
McFayden was charged with driving while impaired and three counts of second-degree murder. He was in Guilford County Jail under $300,000 bond.
Parker of Cornelius received a heart transplant two years ago, and she and her husband adopted a baby boy in July, the Yates team said.
"Tara has gone through a lot in the last two years and was really an inspiration to everyone that knew her,'' Yates said.
Plans are being made to replace Parker as crew chief for Sunday's New Hampshire 300 in Loudon, N.H., Jarrett spokeswoman Penny Copen said.