RALEIGH, N.C. — Both northbound and southbound lanes of Interstate 95 in Johnston County were reopened Thursday afternoon after an early morning tractor-trailer accident that killed one person.
According to the North Carolina Highway Patrol, at about 7 a.m., a tractor-trailer traveling southbound near Kenly hit a heavy-duty tractor and went over a bridge embankment. The cab of the semi-truck fell into the Little River while the trailer dangled over the bridge.
Authorities are still investigating the accident and are not sure who was to blame for it. The tractor was totaled and the driver, Horace Perry Jr., was killed.
The driver of the truck, whose name has not been released, was taken to a local hospital. Authorities say that he was conscious and talking when he was taken to the hospital.
"He just said that he saw the tractor," said Trooper David Mazzotta, who was one of the first authorities at the scene. "He thought that it was stopped in the road. That's the only thing he knew."
The southbound lanes of I-95 between mile markers 107 and 105 were closed for most of the day as authorities investigated the accident and crews cleared the scene. At noon, the DOT closed all northbound lanes so that the tractor-trailer could be removed from the bridge. While all lanes in both directions were reopened at about 4 p.m., motorists were expected to experience congestion and delays for about another hour.
At about 3:30 p.m., a secondary accident involving an overturned tractor-trailer and three other vehicles occurred just a few miles south of the original accident at mile marker 102.
Authorities said the driver of the tractor-trailer, Michael Laney, 27, of Lenoir, TN, did not realize traffic had stopped and rear-ended a a van, hitting a Jeep pulling a boat, and ran off the road. Laney was taken to Johnston Memorial Hospital with minor injuries; he was charged with reckless driving.