Local News

Man charged in fatal I-40 collision released on bond

Posted January 27, 2014

— A New Jersey man charged in a fatal head-on collision that closed westbound lanes of Interstate 40 in Raleigh for several hours Sunday was released from jail early Monday after a woman bailed him out.

Brandon Lewis Jefferson, 22, is charged with misdemeanor death by motor vehicle. Vanesta Jefferson posted a $2,000 cash bond for his release.

Court documents show that Vanesta Jefferson and Brandon Jefferson have the same address in Budd Lake, N.J., but it's unclear how they are related. She declined to comment Monday and said Brandon Jefferson also wasn't interested in talking about the crash.

Brandon Jefferson was eastbound on I-40 Sunday afternoon when he crossed the median into the westbound lanes near the Gorman Street interchange and collided with a car driven by Catherine Obie, 83, of Durham.

Obie was killed in the wreck. Her daughter said Monday that the family was too shaken to talk.

At least five other vehicles were involved in the wreck, but no major injuries were reported.

"One shot into the air about 10 feet right in front of me. I went right under him," a man who called 911 to report the crash told a dispatcher.

Obie's and Brandon Jefferson's vehicles wound up about 200 yards apart, witnesses said. Jefferson was able to crawl out of his overturned car, they said.

According to the traffic citation, Brandon Jefferson ran off the right side of I-40, over-corrected and crossed all eastbound lanes before running off the left side of the highway and across the median.

A police officer at the scene Sunday told a WRAL News employee that Brandon Jefferson told investigators that he had fallen asleep at the wheel before the crash. Police spokesman Jim Sughrue distanced investigators from that on Monday, saying police aren't yet "in a position to comment" on the cause of the wreck.

Westbound I-40 was closed for almost five hours between Lake Wheeler Road and Gorman Street.


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  • metsmasini Jan 28, 2014

    Its a complete shame that this happened to such a great person in Brandon. I feel terrible for the family of the woman who died, but the way this is portrayed as wrong. I can attest to Brandon's character having known him personally for over 9 years. I can assure you that he was not drinking. He is a hard working, respectable guy that you CANNOT say one bad thing about. He made a big mistake. People need to know that he was not drinking. If he was texting, im sure that he wouldve realized he was crossing a patch of grass that is 20 yards long and hopped over a median. I firmly believe he fell asleep. I feel incredibly sorry for both families involved. This is something Brandon will never be able to forget.

  • Geez Louise Jan 28, 2014

    View quoted thread

    --I don't know why you're trying to politicize such a horrible event. Shame on you.

  • mike honcho Jan 27, 2014

    What ever the reason, fell asleep, texting, impairment he did something to cause this crash.
    Thoughts and prayers for the friends and family of Ms. Orbie.

  • Amused Jan 27, 2014

    View quoted thread

    Sounds like an excellent idea to me. If you're too tired to drive then you shouldn't. If you are on some type of medication, you shouldn't drive until you know how it will effect you. People just don't have any common sense anymore.

  • mrschizzy Jan 27, 2014

    From the looks of his car, this guy is darn lucky to be alive. It is unfortunate that Ms. Orbie died, I am so very sad for her family. Misdemeanor Death by Motor Vehicle just doesn't seem to be enough wen someone's life was taken.

  • Ven Jan 27, 2014

    POUPMOUSE, dui/texting, speeding are all conscious choices where as falling asleep may or may not be (maybe he should have known he was sleepy - or maybe he has narcolepsy).

  • BernsteinIII Jan 27, 2014

    View quoted thread

    You are right, they weren't clear when looking at the picture.

  • Obamacare prevails again Jan 27, 2014

    There are cables in this location. However (extrapolating from the photos yesterday) it looks like he managed to hit the median at just the right spot where there is a space for police vehicles to turn around since they had the cables removed in order to impose city taxes on those exceeding the speed limit.

  • -Enter Screen Name- Jan 27, 2014

    >When are they going to put cables in the median...

    There are cables in this location. However (extrapolating from the photos yesterday) it looks like he managed to hit the median at just the right spot where there is a space for vehicles to turn around.

  • Geez Louise Jan 27, 2014

    He told the police that he feel asleep. Right. As I said in an earlier post, I hope the police check his phone records to make sure he wasn't texting right before the accident.