Local News

3 Dead in I-40 Wreck in Sampson County

Posted December 19, 2006

— Three people were killed Tuesday afternoon in a wreck on Interstate 40 in Sampson County that forced authorities to shut down both westbound lanes.

Patsy Gilbert Johnson, 59, Janice Marie Johnson, 29, and Aaron Scott Littlejohn, 2, all of Clayton, were killed when Patsy Johnson lost control of a GMC Envoy after running off the left side of the road and overcorrecting, authorities said.

The victims were related. Janice Johnson was the mother of Littlejohn and the daughter of Patsy Johnson.

The accident happened at about 2:30 p.m. near Exit 341, which is near the Sampson-Johnston county line.

The Envoy flipped several times before coming to a stop, and the passengers were ejected, authorities said.

Patsy Johnson was wearing her seatbelt; Janice Johnson was unrestrained; and troopers are investigating whether the child was properly restrained.

The wreck is still under investigation.

The accident spread wreckage across the highway, and the entire rear axle was off the vehicle. Investigators were trying to determine if a vehicle defect played a role in the wreck.

A second accident happened in the same area shortly afterward when a Nissan Maxima rear-ended a Chevrolet Trailblazer on eastbound I-40, authorities said.

The driver of the Maxima was taken to an area hospital. The person's condition was unknown Tuesday evening.

Authorities said the second accident might have been caused be cause the drivers were looking at the aftermath of the first wreck and were distracted.

Westbound traffic was detoured as crews worked to clear the scene. Eastbound traffic was reduced to one lane much of Tuesday afternoon, but both lanes had been reopened by 6 p.m. Westbound I-40 reopened later Tuesday evening.

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  • dolphinluverb94 Mar 9, 2007

    remember to pray for the familys.

  • dolphinluverb94 Mar 3, 2007

    dont forget about them. they were great people. pray for the littleton's and johnson's family. thanks johnson family member

  • dolphinluverb94 Jan 7, 2007

    My name is Brittany. That was my grandmother,aunt,and cousin that got killed. I have not seen my family in a long time but these deaths brought us altogether. It makes me think a lot. My grandmother was a great person and loved everyone. My aunt was the best, she was always there when you needed her. My cousin I never met but i saw pictures and new everything that happened in his life. I lost half of my life. It is hard to live my life the way I did but I know god took them for a good reason. One day we will all be with them in heaven. They would want us to be happy since my grandmother was always happy.Keep in prayer for the Johnson's and the Littleton's! please email if you know these people.my email address is dolphinluverb94@aol.com

  • shortykrt Dec 21, 2006

    I worked with Patsy. She was a door greeter at the Clayton Wal-mart so everyday before I would leave we would talk about whatever. She was a very friendly person. Me, as well as everyonoe else at Wal-mart were very upset when we heard this. EVERYBODY loved her. I just cant believe this happened...

  • boingc Dec 20, 2006

    You do not need to come to a complete stop to overcome a 2 inch difference--just ease back on. Overcorrecting is just that, not easing but rather jerking. You also stand a much better chance of not overcorrecting and flipping if you are not driving a top-heavy SUV. Also, you are almost certain not to be ejected from the vehicle if you are wearing your seat belt.

  • luv2surffish Dec 20, 2006

    i was behind the wreck 2 hrs after it happened yesterday...terrible thing.. they said she over corrected...
    next time you are on i-40 east of i-95 chek out the pavement.
    they resurfaced the road several years ago , but did not go all the way to the shoulder leaving about a 2inch difference in road and shoulder.. if you run off road, you dont stand a chance of getting back on without coming to a full stop....

  • atolley13 Dec 20, 2006

    Janice Was A Friend Of Mine This Is A Very Sad Time For There Family, Janice Also had A Little girl!!! Please Send Your Prayers

  • pcrabtree Dec 20, 2006

    Patsy, Janice & her son all went to our church here in Fayetteville. Patsy was a greeter and always welcomed everyone with a huge smile and a hug. She will be greatly missed!!!!

  • boingc Dec 20, 2006

    Wear your seat belt.

  • Strong31 Dec 20, 2006

    This is another sad story. It is so hard to believe that another terrible car accident has happened and has claimed the lives of some more precious people. It is only less than a week away from Christmas and instead of the victims' families celebrating this wonderful Holiday, they are now faced with the grim task of planning the funerals for their loved ones. I think everybody should just take some time to truly appreciate the lives of those closes to us, because we never know what "tomorrow" will bring.