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Husband: Driver charged in crash that hurt DOT workers blacked out

Posted April 20
Updated April 21

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— The husband of a Morrisville woman accused of slamming into the back of a state Department of Transportation truck on Interstate 440 on Tuesday afternoon, injuring two DOT workers, said Wednesday that she had blacked out.

Angela Renee Roland, 44, of 113 Barbee Road, faces two felony charges under a section of the state's "move over law" that applies to incidents involving death or serious injury. She was released on a $25,000 bond and made her first court appearance Wednesday morning.

Police said Roland's car hit Darrick Bridges and Kelly Lewis and their DOT truck, which was parked on the shoulder of eastbound I-440 near the Capital Boulevard exit. Both men were wearing reflective clothing, and the truck had its flashing yellow lights on, according to a police accident report.

Bridges, 44, was listed in critical condition Thursday at WakeMed. Police said he had been pinned between the car and the truck. Lewis, 46, was treated at WakeMed and released. Police said he had been hit by the car and thrown over a guardrail.

A driver who called 911 to report the wreck said it appeared someone's leg had been severed in the crash.

"Can you see the person that was hit?" the 911 dispatcher asked.

"No, I cannot. I only see a body part underneath the car," the driver responded.

Roland moved gingerly in the courtroom Wednesday as she recovers from her own injuries from the crash. She asked for a court-appointed lawyer and is scheduled to return to court in May.

When asked what happened in the crash, her husband, Robert Bethea, said Roland blacked out, but he declined to elaborate.

Police suspect Roland was impaired and are awaiting the results of drug tests, according to the accident report.

The "move over law" was passed in 2002 and requires drivers to shift to another lane of traffic, if possible, when there is an emergency vehicle on the side of the road. When it's impossible to move over, drivers are supposed to slow down under the law until they pass the emergency vehicle. The law was amended in 2012 to include DOT vehicles, tow trucks and vehicles that are installing or maintaining utilities or are collecting trash or recycling.

"Work zones are those areas that you have to be cognisant as you're traveling through them and expect the unexpected," said Sgt. Mike Baker, a spokesman for the State Highway Patrol.

Last year, 19 people were killed in highway work zones, including three workers, according to the DOT.

"It's ironic that this tragedy happened, being that it is Work Zone Safety Month (and) the gentlemen involved had not even started working yet," DOT spokesman Steve Abbott said. "It's just a really sad case for them."

14 Comments

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  • Nicolle Leney May 25, 12:17 p.m.
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    Exactly. There's a lot of assuming before anything has come back. They did drug testing. If that comes back positive or records show she was on her phone, then by all means throw the book at her. But until that info comes back, she is innocent until proven guilty.

    If all that stuff comes back clean, hopefully they'll also look into sleep apnea and narcolepsy. The micro-sleeps that happen from these can feel like a blackout. And it's the sort of thing that doesn't always get caught for a long time.

  • Jj Parker Apr 21, 6:01 a.m.
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    This is a horrible situation but a lot of you are assuming what happened.

    If you read the article it says nothing about her using her cell phone. Why make the comment to put it down and drive? Yes that needs to be done but stick to the facts.

    Where did it read she was trying to merge into traffic and beat one last car? This happens all too much and it's a huge contributing factor in backups.

    Why say the husband was quick to reply that she blacked out? Maybe she did.

    They are waiting on drug test because officers believe she might have been impaired.

    They will look into her phone (if she had one) as well as the cars 'black box' to aid them in determining what happened.

  • Sara Hauser Apr 20, 10:25 p.m.
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    Very sad and likely preventable. News is reporting Mr. Bridges had to undergo amputation of part of leg. Unfortunately ,his life will never be quite as it was.

  • Fred Holt Apr 20, 8:05 p.m.
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    Calls and texts show up on records - probably pretty easy to find. "Playing with your phone" ala facebook, twitter, groupme, or many other social apps, probably not so much unless actively posting. Reading your phone is easily as distracting as attempting to post...

  • Janet Ghumri Apr 20, 7:57 p.m.
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    So, she 'blacked-out'? Does she have a medical condition that can cause blackouts? If so, wouldn't she be restricted from driving? If she doesn't have a medical condition, what could have caused it? Low blood sugar, low blood pressure, etc., will those show up in the blood tests? (Along with checking for alcohol /drugs) The husband seemed pretty quick to say that she blacked out, but nothing more.
    I'm sure that they will check the phone records, that HAS to be protocol by now, right? . She is very lucky that she didn't kill them, or herself. We all need to learn to hang up and drive. Prayers for the injured and the families

  • Henry White Apr 20, 6:20 p.m.
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    Actually it's a little over 5 people per county per day. Yup, it's believable

  • Jeff Gameo Apr 20, 5:05 p.m.
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    I question these numbers:
    "In the past five years, we've had 4,400 people, to include workers, killed in work zones and another 200,000 that were injured."
    All in just 5 years in NC? Seems way too high.

  • Kris Dawn Apr 20, 4:58 p.m.
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    Wow, when will people learn...I do hope these two men recover fully.

    These roads are bad enough right now without people texting/on the phone - we have to be more alert than ever. With the uneven payment and barriers - things are like a Mario Kart track on I-440. I am surprised more complaints have not been submitted in regards to tires and alignments - this road will move you all over the place - it is a nightmare. I feel so constricted in the lanes when going home that I try to take Tryon Rd more often than 440. Between the 18 wheelers and folks just not paying attention - it is wild.

  • Johnathan Gault Apr 20, 4:30 p.m.
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    It is not just "around here." You must not get out much. Raleigh is probably one of the better areas for driving. Doubt me go to Chicago, Atlanta, NY, Boston, Albuquerque, LA, SF or Detroit.

  • Laura Baxter Apr 20, 4:28 p.m.
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    Brian Murphy "this could have been avoided if she got in the proper lane for exiting and reduced her speed- instead thinking, shes got to get one car ahead of another and then cut in front of them for the exit" ----- How do you know this is what she did? I don't see that in the article. Curious if you know something more..

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