Local News

Man killed after semi hits mower on I-95

Posted October 27, 2010

— A man was killed in Cumberland County Wednesday morning when a tractor-trailer collided with his mower while he was cutting grass in the median of Interstate 95, authorities said.

The tractor-trailer hit two safety vehicles with flashing warning arrows and went to the left of a third before hitting the mower shortly after 11:30 a.m., said Trooper Greg Steffens of the state Highway Patrol.

The mower operator was identified as John Glenn McLean, 47, of Erwin.

McLean works for Martin Edwards and Associates, which contracts with the state Department of Transportation to cut the grass in the median and along each shoulder of the highway.

"His brother was actually cutting grass in front of him on another tractor," Steffens said, noting that the second mower wasn't hit.

McLean's son, Jerome Stewart, 19, was in one of the safety vehicles that was hit, Steffens said. He was taken to Cape Fear Valley Medical Center for observation after being shaken up.

"I talked to his son. He's not doing real well," Steffens said.

Man killed after semi hits mower on I-95 Man killed after semi hits mower on I-95

Truck driver Luis Valdes, 65, of Lehigh Acres, Fla., suffered minor injuries in the wreck. The tractor-trailer was owned by Marlu Transportation Services.

Troopers were trying to determine Wednesday afternoon what caused the truck to run off the road. Steffens said it didn't appear that drugs or alcohol were involved.

"All the witnesses that saw the collision continued traveling down the highway. We don't have a firsthand witness to the collision," Steffens said.

No charges have yet been filed in the case.

The wreck closed the left lane of northbound I-95 at the U.S. Highway 13/ Newton Grove exit (Exit 58) until 3 p.m., causing lengthy delays.

The incident isn't the first fatal mowing accident on I-95 in Cumberland County. One occurred more than a decade ago, killing the mower operator, and it led to a brief suspension of mowing procedures.


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  • catrecemiles Oct 29, 2010

    I held a CDL for years and my husband still drives. What are out there now are steering wheel holders-not professional drivers like my husband & I are. It is disgraceful. I thought my mother would disapprove when I started driving, but it was exactly the opposite. Her response was "GREAT!! Those are some of the best guys on the road, and I do remember as a kid, having trouble (ie: flat tire, etc) on camping vacations and the truck driver who readily stopped to assist a young mother with 3 children. Once, a 2nd trucker stopped to offer assistance with the 1st one. And nowadays, I can't even turn the CB radio on channel 19. The language and conversations are vulgar and unnecessary. It is truly shameful. But do not say they are all like that. My husband is the most patient and considerate driver in the truck or in a four wheeler. But don't ride below the speed limit, side-by-side with a car doing the same speed and not get over to let the working man pass.Turn off your high beams!

  • Bendal1 Oct 28, 2010


    The reason people are hired instead of buying very expensive grass is simple; the people would still need to be hired anyway. Not all mowers are contract, and state workers do a lot more than mow grass. "No mow" grass may need to be replanted annually, or it may not be native (prohibited to bring in exotic species for state use), or it may not be as durable. People are a lot more versatile than buying many thousands of acres' worth of grass.

  • tritonlm6 Oct 28, 2010

    Key acronym: CDL These guys are supposedly "professionals".
    Yeah right.

  • Lickad Oct 28, 2010

    Truckers are some of the worst drivers on the road and have no respect for anyone who is not in a truck. We need to fire these guys and get more trains.

    I was nearly mowed down by a semi downtown this morning and always having to go around these inconsiderate people when they park in the middle of the road blocking traffic.

    RPD should do more to ticket these guys and make downtown a no semi zone.

  • redstarlean Oct 28, 2010

    I have noticed in the past few year that they must be handing out CDL's like candy to anyone who can grunt. I travel the I-95 and these truckers are dangerous, we need more enforcement and loss of CDL if involved in a accident like this

  • Mugu Oct 28, 2010

    Semi truck drivers should get instant jail time and permanent revocation of their CDL after any incident involving injury.

    These people have a callous disregard for the rest of the motoring public.

  • JustOneGodLessThanU Oct 28, 2010

    If all you have is a lawn mower, everything looks like grass.

    As for cost of nomowgrass (or the equivalent):

    1-bulk discount

    2-What is this guy's life worth?

    3-How much do we spend yearly on mowers, gas, accompanying "warning" vehicles, maintenance, insurance, and every other associated cost?

    And with the many, many miles of roads that we have, we could surely use this sort of product on at least some of it. So, why not try? Are we just trying to spend money and employ people?

  • Moabit Oct 28, 2010

    Trucker probably was asleep or texting or maybe the wind. It is so sad that you can not even mow grass without getting killed.

  • Mustange Oct 27, 2010

    I thought by law you are suppose to stop and aid if you can.

  • Bumble Bee Oct 27, 2010

    Very, very sad. Thoughts and prayers for all involved - the family, coworkers, the trucker, the first responders,the second and third responders, even the passer-byers and fellow travelers. A tragedy like this affects a lot of people.