Husband: Driver charged in crash that hurt DOT workers blacked out
Posted April 20, 2016
Updated April 21, 2016
Raleigh, N.C. — 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."