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Man charged in fatal pedestrian wreck on I-540 in Raleigh

Posted January 10, 2015

Nathaniel Lautha Harris
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— A 42-year-old Durham man has been charged with felony-hit-and-run in connection with a fatal wreck involving two pedestrians on Interstate 540 in north Raleigh.

Raleigh police said Jesus Lopez Gomez, 35, and Mayra Elizabeth Caceres Perez, 23, were traveling west on I-540 near Triangle Town Boulevard at about 11:30 p.m. Friday when furniture they were hauling in a Nissan pickup truck fell into the highway.

Gomez, who was driving the truck, pulled to the shoulder and he and Perez got out to retrieve a sofa cushion and small table.

Nathaniel Lautha Harris, of 1101 Wabash St., who was also traveling west on I-540 in a 2001 Pontiac sedan, swerved to avoid the furniture and struck Gomez and Perez. After the wreck, Harris tried to leave the area on foot, police said. He was apprehended by responding officers and charged with felony-hit-and-run and driving with a revoked license.

Both victims were taken to WakeMed, where Perez later died. Gomez was being treated early Saturday for serious injuries.

No other information about the wreck has been released.

Authorities closed westbound I-540 for about three hours following the wreck. The highway reopened at about 4 a.m. Saturday.


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  • Nicolle Leney Jan 12, 2015
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    This would have been more likely a tragic accident if he hadn't run. Nighttime, trying to avoid furniture on the road, the people being there at that exact second, etc., there probably wasn't a lot he could do to avoid the accident. But the second he ran, he made it criminal. This is why I think hit and run should have one of the harshest penalties. There's the sub-section of people who are going to run no matter what. But overall, if the penalties for hit and run are significantly harsher than other charges, even DWI, maybe people would think twice about running. (I would guess probably 90% of hit and run offenders ran because they were drunk. It sounds like this guy was the other 10%, but still I'm guessing he ran because of the revoked license.)

  • Sean Creasy Jan 12, 2015
    user avatar

    No drivers license? Killed two people? Run!!! This mentality is why we need to impose harsher charges and penalties for acting so contemptuous. The law just doesn't matter to people like him...