Local News

I-95 Lanes Reopen After Morning Fatality

Posted January 3, 2000

— One person died and two were injured in a fiery crash Tuesday morning on Interstate 95 in Nash County.

The accident occurred about 6 a.m. between Red Oak and Gold Rock.

Reports indicated one tractor-trailer had run into another from the rear and then both slid into a bridge abutment.

The two rigs caught fire, leading witnesses to speculate that a fuel line in one or both of the rigs may have ruptured. One of the trailers was a Mayflowermoving vanand burned furniture and household goods were strewn over the roadway.

Officials said the driver of the moving van, 54-year-old William Lonergan, was killed. His daughter was back in the sleeping compartment of the cab at the time of impact. Rescuers heard her calling for help and were able to get her out of the burning truck. She and the other driver were taken to a local hospital. No identities have been released.

Ron Hoke says the moving van had passed him just before the wreck, but that he had seen nothing erratic about the van's movement. Then, Hoke said, there were "sparks flying everywhere." Hoke and another man worked together to get the driver's daughter out of the wreck.

All lanes of 1-95 are now open, but for several hours Tuesday morning southbound traffic had been detoured onto 301. The southbound lanes were reopened at 1:45 p.m.

Before the detour was set up, several fender-bender accidents occurred among other vehicles, as drivers sought to swerve around truck debris and trailer contents that were on the pavement.

It took firefighters until 9 a.m. to extinguish the flames. Traffic was delayed for hours because considerable time was needed to clear the roadway. The severity of the blaze undermined the second trailer's structure, making it difficult to remove, and then all the household goods had to be collected.

Law officers said the overpass was not seriously damaged, despite the impact, and that local traffic was using the bridge.

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