Durham, N.C. — An Iraqi war veteran says he is lucky to be alive after a tractor-trailer slammed into his car and kept going on Interstate 40.
While serving in Iraq, Maurice Atkinson was hit by a tank. His injuries left him paralyzed from the waist down. He had just started walking again when his car was struck by a tractor-trailer last Wednesday night. Atkinson was driving eastbound on Interstate 40 when the collision happened.
"He ran into me and drove over the front of the top of the car," Atkinson said. "Definitely, I feel fortunate to be alive."
Atkinson is on the road to recovery, but wants the person who was driving the tractor-trailer to come forward.
"I just hope that person, whoever they are, just does the right thing," Atkinson said. "You ran over top of me with something that weighs 40,000 or 50,000 pounds. ... You just drove away. You really gambled with my life."
"You could have left me for dead because of fear and whatever it was," Atkinson said.
After the tractor-trailer trampled Atkinson's car, it went up the ramp to Interstate 540. There, the tractor-trailer caused another accident because it was leaking diesel fuel.The people involved the second collision were not injured.
Durham police said they do not have a solid description of the vehicle, but it probably has a reddish cab with a silver trailer. It also likely has visible damage from the crashes.
Durham Police asked anyone with information about the accidents to call Crime Stoppers at 919-683-1200. Crime Stoppers sometimes pays cash rewards for information, and callers never have to identify themselves.