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Wreck kills 74-year-old man, injures 7 others

Posted May 16, 2008
Updated May 17, 2008

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— A 74-year-old man died when a pickup truck crossed the center line of Red Mill Road and struck the car he was a passenger in on Friday night.

State troopers said a 54-year-old woman was driving a Dodge pickup truck north when she crossed the center line at 5469 Red Mill Road around 10 p.m.

The pickup crashed head-on into a Buick sedan, which was carrying five people. A Saturn also rear-ended the Buick after it came to rest and then spun off the road, troopers said.

Willie Joe Smith, of Durham, who rode in the front passenger seat of the Buick, died.

Troopers said seven other people – including a 4-year-old child in the Buick and the pickup driver – sustained injuries.

They were transported to Duke University Hospital and Durham Regional Hospital. Troopers said all their injuries were considered non-life-threatening.

The pickup driver, whose name has not been released, was charged with death by vehicle. She told troopers that she did not remember what caused her to veer across the center line.

Investigators said alcohol was not a factor in the wreck.


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