Local News

Man killed crossing 15-501 in Durham

Posted September 29, 2009

— A man died around 5:40 a.m. Tuesday while attempting to walk across U.S. Highway 15-501 at Mt. Moriah Road in Durham, police said. 

Eric Franklin Simpson, 27, of Estes Drive in Carrboro, was crossing the highway toward New Hope Commons Shopping Center when he was struck by an eastbound vehicle driven by Vernon Chris Worley, 31, of Mebane, police said.

Simpson was going to his job at Barnes & Noble in New Hope Commons Shopping Center, according to investigators. He was pronounced dead at the scene. Worley was not injured.

Investigators said they do not plan to file charges against Worley.

"There are no crosswalks at that intersection and it was still dark when the accident happened," police said in a statement.


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  • whitney11191 Oct 7, 2009

    I know the driver. I appreciate none of you accusing him or rediculing him. He is a good man, and it is just a tragic accident. No one can plan for things like this. He has two little boys and this is very hard for him to live with. His sister is a paramedic....good people. My heart goes out to both families, chris' and the victims.

  • NCStatePack Oct 1, 2009

    If he was from carrboro, why was he crossing the street there to go to work? Seems a bit far to me

  • jjslilred Sep 30, 2009

    seriously? do people actually read anymore? this guy wasn't a 'panhandler' and probably not homeless. he was on his way to work and the picture they show of him on the news is from his Facebook page. just because he doesn't have a ride to work doesn't mean he was homeless. how judgemental can you be when you skip feeling compassion for this man and move straight toward making assumptions about him

  • ezLikeSundayMorning Sep 30, 2009

    genie2u, this place absolutely should be and can be ped friendly. The problem is DOT is too car centric and short sited. They probably built to 8 lanes before there was much development and assumed there was no need for ped crossing. Then development comes with apartments and business within 1/2 mile which is very walkable, but there are already 8 lanes so they assume it's immpossible.

    If there are so few people likely to walk there, then no one should mine a ped signal activated by a button. It will only affect the light cycle when someone is crossing which wouldn't be very often.

    The fact is that many people discount walking as a means of travel and look down on people and assume they must be homeless. I don't think the expense of a ped bridge is needed unless there are 100s of people crossing daily.

  • beachvb Sep 29, 2009

    I drove by at 7:20am and saw him. It hit me hard. I have no comments about police protocols or crossing walks, it's irrelevant. I have been sending my caring thoughts to all who know this gentleman all day, and I feel a little better now that I know more about who he was and that some of you who cared for him are here. Life is chaotic and unpredictable, and should never end this way. I'm just going to feel sad for a while.

  • annitachampion Sep 29, 2009

    I knew him. He walked across that street for 4 years. I can't stand that this happened and nobody knows what it's like to have this happen so suddenly, unless it's happened to you.

  • lornadoone Sep 29, 2009

    Wow - this is so sad. My heart goes out to his loved ones.

  • LiveLifeToTheFullest Sep 29, 2009

    Common Sense Man -"There aren't any apartment complexes near that intersection. The closest one is about a half mile away."
    There is an apartment complex that is quite close; about a 1/4 mile from Mt.Moriah...however more importantly a lovely young man has lost his life, and a driver who as obeying the laws accidentally hit him. This is pure tragedy all around..thinking of Eric and all those involved..

  • Common Sense Man Sep 29, 2009

    "There are a lot of apartment complexes near that intersection, plus all the shopping and restaurants."

    There aren't any apartment complexes near that intersection. The closest one is about a half mile away.

  • deerhunter2 Sep 29, 2009

    I live in this area and drive to and from work on 15-501 everyday. I have seen people walking along the edge of the road, crossing I-40, etc. One guy had a baby with him. It is incredibly dangerous for people to be forced to walk along the side of such a busy highway. Pedestrian traffic in this area has increased dramatically recently, so it seems the DOT would have to address this in some way, e.g. adding crosswalks. I think the elevated crosswalk is a very good one -- it wouldn't snarl traffic, but would provide a safe place for people to get around on foot.