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Fayetteville native among eight who died in weekend plane crash


Note:  An earlier version of this article erroneously reported Hunter Parks was a graduate of Terry Sanford High School. According to the Cumberland County Board of Education, he attended Terry Sanford and left after the 10th grade.

A 45-year-old Fayetteville native was among the eight people who died in a plane crash off the North Carolina coast last weekend.

Douglas Hunter Parks, 45, and his girlfriend, Stephanie Fulcher, were in the aircraft that crashed into the Atlantic Ocean on Sunday, authorities said.

The private plane took off from Hyde County on Sunday afternoon en route to Beaufort, according to the U.S. Coast Guard, before crashing roughly three to four miles east of Drum Inlet.

Marshall Waren of Fayetteville said Parks owned the airplane.

“I was very familiar with the plane,” said Waren, who works for CityView Magazine.

Years ago, Waren said he coached Parks and his brother, Toliver Parks, on a church basketball team. Waren is close friends with Toliver Parks, the CEO of Parks Building Supply in Fayetteville.

Hunter Parks was a previous owner of the business that his grandfather had established, Waren said.

“I just got to see him occasionally when he was in town,” Waren said Thursday. “So I kind of lost touch with him over the last 20 years. We definitely knew each other pretty well. If he walked in a room, he would come right over and give me a hug.”

Parks was known for his business acumen, Waren said, adding that Parks did particularly well in carbon production, the buying and selling of credits that allows a company or other entity to emit a certain amount of carbon dioxide.

Parks had a passion for the outdoors.

“I’ve known Hunter my whole life,” Hutch Hutchens, a Fayetteville lawyer, said. “We once ran in some of the same circles. He always had a good business sense and he was successful. He gave back to young folks and wanted to give back to the outdoors.”

Hutchens also said Parks was known for his engaging way with others and a firm handshake when you first met him.

“He didn’t have kids of his own, but he was always trying to make people happy,” Hutchens said. “He was always pushing his happiness on others.”

Family and friends were gathered Thursday at the home of Toliver Parks. 

Hunter Parks grew up hunting and remained an avid hunter and outdoorsman, Waren said.

“Their dad was in a group of people that bought a big plot of land near Lake Mattamuskeet,” he said. “Their dad was a big hunter. So Toliver and Hunter didn’t fall far from the tree. My son went hunting with them. They’ve been hunters all their lives.”

The party on board the Pilatus PC-12/47 – which included four teenagers – was returning from a duck hunting trip in Hyde County, said Maj. Jason Wank of the Carteret County Sheriff’s Office.

“Apparently, it was a hunting trip that opens up for a day so teenagers can go hunt,” Wank said.

The Carteret County Sheriff’s Office in a news release identified the eight passengers on the plane as:

  • Douglas Hunter Parks, 45, of Sea Level,
  • Pilot Ernest Durwood Rawls, 67, of Greenville,
  • Jeffrey Worthington Rawls, 28, of Greenville,
  • Stephanie Ann McInnis Fulcher, 42, of Sea Level,
  • Jonathan Kole McInnis, 15, of Sea Level,
  • Noah Lee Styron, 15, of Cedar Island,
  • Michael Daily Shepard, 15, of Atlantic,
  • And Jacob Nolan Taylor, 16, of Atlantic.

Waren said the pilot worked for Parks.

“We’ve recovered all the remains and wreckage that we could possibly recover,” Wank said.

The National Transportation Safety Board will investigate the cause of the crash, Wank said.

“Sheriff Asa Buck and the Carteret County Sheriff’s Office would like to extend our deepest sympathies and condolences to all the families affected by this tragedy,” the news release stated. “We ask the community to keep the families in your thoughts and prayers.”

Bill Kiry Jr. contributed to this report.

Michael Futch covers Fayetteville and education for CityView TODAY. He can be reached at mfutch@cityviewnc.com. Have a news tip? Email news@CityViewTODAY.com. Bill Kirby Jr. can be reached at billkirby49@gmail.com or 910-624-1961.

plane crash, Atlantic Ocean, Fayetteville, Hunter Parks