Local News

Weekend Wrecks Involve Troopers, Life Flight Personnel, Teenagers, Suspect In High-Speed Chase

Posted June 1, 2004

— It was a deadly weekend on North Carolina roads. Fourteen people died in our state, including six from our area.

The most recent was Monday afternoon in Durham. Police said Eric Frazier was speeding on North Roxboro Road when he

lost control of his vehicle and hit an SUV.

Frazier and his passenger, Teresa Cozart, died at the scene. The driver of the other car suffered only minor injuries.

Two Highway Patrol troopers conducting a traffic stop on Interstate 95 Monday morning were struck by a pickup truck.

Both were transported to WakeMed for treatment of non-life-threatening injuries.

A preliminary investigation revealed that driver fatigue may have contributed to the collision.

Trooper A.R. Digiovanni and Trooper J.E. Clark had a vehicle stopped northbound in Johnston County near the 84-mile marker near Four Oaks. According to witnesses, a pickup registered in Florida drifted off of I-95 and swiped the first Highway Patrol vehicle before rear-ending the second Highway Patrol vehicle.

Digiovanni, 35, has been employed by the Highway Patrol since 1989. He is assigned to Raleigh. Clark, 34, has been employed by the Highway Patrol since 1994. He is assigned to Raleigh.

The first deadly accident in the Triangle area for this year's holiday weekend happened early Sunday.

Ivan Georgia, 18, died when the truck he was in flipped onto its top on Interstate 95 in Johnston County. The wreck happened shortly after midnight at the I-40 interchange.

Another passenger in the car was taken to WakeMed with non-life-threatening injuries.

Since Friday morning,

there were four accidents on that stretch of I-95,

two of them fatal, and a fifth just across the county line.

Authorities reportedly found alcohol in Georgia's vehicle.

Secondary roads also saw their share of troubles over the weekend. There were plenty of traffic tieups Sunday alone.

In Raleigh, a man was killed in an accident on New Bern Avenue at North State Street. Police said the driver ran off the road about 8:30 a.m. and struck a tree.

Also in Wake County, a 19-year-old who reportedly had been drinking flipped his car down an embankment near Zebulon.

According to reports, Robin Randall Horton overcorrected on Riley Hill Road, rolled down a hill and hit a tree. He was pinned in his vehicle for nearly an hour.

He was in fair condition Sunday night.

In Durham,

a single-car accident involving a Duke University Life Flight vehicle

shut down the Chapel Hill Street exit in the southbound lanes of the Durham Freeway. No patients were in the vehicle.

The road re-opened about two hours later.

Also, a church van got into trouble on I-95 near the Harnett-Johnston County line. Nine people in the van were hurt, but none had life threatening injuries.

Another wreck, in Goldsboro, came at the end of a high-speed chase.

A car wound up on the roof of a hardware store.

Deputies were chasing a red mustang down U.S. 70 West late Sunday. The mustang lost control, flew off a bridge and onto the roof of Delmus Hardware on Berkeley Boulevard.

The car was stuck on the roof, and the driver -- Leandro Martinez Noriega -- was pinned inside the vehicle.

Noriega was in stable condition Monday night.

According to investigators, Noriega was involved in a hit-and-run collision. Police attempted to stop him, at which time he attempted to flee.

After a short pursuit, Noriega headed back west on U.S. 70 Bypass. Two hundred feet after Noreiga's vehicle crossed over Berkeley Boulevard, it ran off to the right, traveled another 200 feet down the hill toward the U.S. 70 on-ramp for Berkeley Blvd. and struck a concrete drainage ditch.

Noriega's vehicle went airborne for approximately 275 feet ver the on-ramp and landed on the roof of Delmus' Hardware. The fire department repsonded, removed Noriega from his car and building, and Noriega was transported to Wayne Memorial Hospital.

Noriega was charged with driving while impaired, speeding to elude arrest and careless-and-reckless driving.


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