Local News

Police identify woman killed in I-40 hit-and-run

Posted February 11, 2010
Updated February 20, 2010

— Police on Thursday identified a woman killed Wednesday morning in a hit-and-run on eastbound Interstate 40 in Durham.

Officers found the body of Judy Gail Siegel, 57, of Chapel Hill, on the highway near Exit 276.

Police said Siegel was driving in the right lane when she struck the side of or a tire on a tractor-trailer in the next lane. The impact caused her Toyota to go off the right side of the highway and hit a guardrail.

Investigators said they believe Siegel got out of her car on the shoulder of the highway and walked into the middle of I-40, where she was struck by multiple vehicles. The first vehicle that hit her did not remain at the scene, police said.

Durham police find woman's body on I-40 after hit-and-run Victim identified in I-40 hit-and-run

Family members said Wednesday's wreck brought back terrible memories of a crash Siegel was involved in when she was 18.

"She was in a coma for several months. She wasn't expected to come out of it, but she did," cousin Marvin Elkin said.

Elkin said his cousin was devoted to her dog Tea-Tee, a 9-year-old terrier. He is now trying to find a home for the pet.

"She was really devoted to animals. I know it's something that would have been her greatest wish to have this dog find a happy home," he said.

UPDATE: Tea-Tee has found a home. Marvin Elkin told WRAL News on Friday that the terrier will be living with her previous owner. This home reunites Tea-Tee with two of her puppies and a grandpuppy.


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  • ableplumb Feb 16, 2010

    I am the wife of a Traumatic Brain Injury survivor. It is this country's silent epidemic because it's not visible.
    I notice one fact that isn't being considered in the strange way this woman walked out in front of on coming traffic.
    Her family says she had an auto accident at 18 and was in a 3 month coma. A coma of 3 months is extremely long and indicates extreme severe brain trauma. The damage to the brain remains throughout the person's life. Many TBI victims choose not to drive again because of their diminished ability to react quickly in traffic situations. A second brain injury (such as she experienced when her car was hit), is much more damaging when the brain has been injured previously.
    I believe it explains why she walked out into traffic. Her actions can only be understood by taking into account the existing damage to her brain and the second probably from whiplash. Her death is sad and tragic. I hope that it will focus public attention to the problem of brain injuries.

  • Drakula_I_G Feb 12, 2010


  • JustOneGodLessThanU Feb 12, 2010

    calicocatt, you may want to re-read your driver's manual. It's the Maximum safe speed limit that you should drive.

    Wow. You guys are really scaring me.

  • rescuefan Feb 12, 2010

    There is no telling what type of vehicle hit her first, it could have been a semi. I would think it would be hard to tell you hit someone as petite as the woman looked. There is always a possibility that she had tripped and fallen at that point, too.

    Regarding the truck that they are saying she bumped into, it's very probably that the truck driver didn't even feel the bump. My dad had his car totaled by a semi that changed lanes when my dad was in his blind spot. He squished my dad's car between the guardrail on a bridge and the truck. The truck driver had no clue until another trucker called him on the radio to tell him that some guy in a smashed car was chasing him down!

  • calicocatt Feb 12, 2010

    I agree that driving school/education teaches us that the speed limit in this case is a maximum. And if we are driving in NC at least, we should know this fact. However, a beef of mine for some time is that limit can be max or min. The sign itself does not say which it is. I always wondered if someone argued that in court if they would win? :-)

    At any rate, terrible tradegy.

  • RallyJean Feb 12, 2010

    All, Tea-Tee has found a home. It was just posted on the story site.
    UPDATE: Tea-Tee has found a home.

  • TomLynda Feb 12, 2010

    "Knowing how traffic on I-40 is during the day why would anyone go back into traffic to retrieve anything? I-40 is like our Autobahn."

    She was just possibly confused and/or disoriented after she ran off the road. Any number of reasons.

  • TomLynda Feb 12, 2010

    "A fully loaded tractor/trailer's legal weight limit is 50,000 pounds. A car like Seigal's probably weighed 4,000 at best. If you have never ridden in or driven a tractor trailer, don't assume you would feel the bump of a smaller vehicle."

    I have both ridden in and drove tractor/trailers, and I contend that you would know if a car impacted one of your wheels. Unless of course the driver of the tractor/trailer was either so sleepy, tired and/or yapping their foul mouth language on the CB, and not paying attention. Again, numerous reasons why he/she would not want to stop and render aid, none of which reasons are worth a human life. Same as the first (and first few) cars that hit the woman.

    We are seeing way too many hit and runs in the past months.

  • 007KnightRider Feb 12, 2010

    Knowing how traffic on I-40 is during the day why would anyone go back into traffic to retrieve anything? I-40 is like our Autobahn.

  • debk589 Feb 12, 2010

    Does anyone know where to go get information regarding the dog? I was actually looking to adopt a terrier breed for a sibling ;) for my other rescue furbaby. I would love to help this family if I can!