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Residents demand action after fatal Hillsborough crash

Posted September 27, 2015

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— Residents are calling for action following a deadly wreck involving a tanker truck near Hillsborough, saying the intersection where it happened is dangerous.

N.C. Highway 86 and Sawmill Road cross in the quiet community of Cedar Grove and the sleepy town got quite a wake-up call last Tuesday morning.

“It was about 6:30 a.m. when we heard the explosion,” said resident Joel Jennings.

When Jennings stepped outside, he saw a tanker truck full of liquid propane on fire a few feet from his home. Investigators said that the tanker was hit by the driver of a car who ran a stop sign at the intersection.

The driver of the truck, who was identified as Charlie Dunston Jr., 35, of Durham did not survive.

Those who live in the area said that there have been too many wrecks at the intersection and that something needs to be done.

“When I was 20 years old, coming from work, a bus ran a stop sign and ran into me,” said resident Anne Hester.

Hester has lived near the intersection for her entire life. She and others would like to see a traffic light at the intersection.

“I think it could be done with a caution light, that would be a good step in the right direction,” said Hester.

The Department of Transportation considers several factors, including the crash history at a particular location, before installing a signal. According to DOT documents, there have been 10 crashes during the past five years at the intersection of N.C. Highway 86 and Sawmill Road.

Residents, however, said that number was incorrect and that if the DOT keeps ignoring the problem, more people will be injured or killed as a result.

Taurus Hairston, 34, he driver of the car that caused the crash that killed Dunston was be charged with misdemeanor death by motor vehicle and driving with a revoked license.


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  • Charles Boyer Sep 28, 2015
    user avatar

    It's a shame that the NC DOT usually doesn't improve an intersection until there is a rash of accidents or deaths at the location.

  • David Tew Sep 28, 2015
    user avatar

    Good luck getting DOT to do anything. I live on the outside of Apex and we have complained numerous times about the need for speed limit signs in this area due to the fact that in the past 2 years we have had 3 wrecks in the same curve and 5 different time we have had cars drive through our front yard. Last time I was told that either speed limit signs or ar least warning directional signs with suggested speeds for curves could be installed. I was to be contacted in approx 10 weeks by DOT with their decision. That was in June and not a word. So good luck witH DOT.

  • John McCray Sep 28, 2015
    user avatar

    This is not a dangerous intersection. Just look it up using Google street view. Every intersection is dangerous when people run Stop Signs.

  • Forest Hazel Sep 28, 2015
    user avatar

    What the neighbors should demand is that the courts put Hairston away for a good long time so he's not out running stop signs with a revoked license and killing other folks.....

  • Michael Clemmons Sep 28, 2015
    user avatar

    They should charge the driver Taurus Hairston, 34 with 1st degree murder because he was driving on a revoked license. Had he been following the law and not been driving the truck driver would still be alive. All of these people driving on suspended and revoked licenses are breaking the law and putting everyone at risk.

  • Chris Narron Sep 27, 2015
    user avatar

    I understand your angle johnny how ever im sure these people that have been running the stop sign did not do it on purpose. You have to understand that some intersections by design are more prone to wrecks. Im a vol. Ff and see it all the time. We have 5 intersections that make 80% of our wrecks. So if this intersection is prone too issues then it needs to be addressed. If they have seen a abnormaly large amount of wrecks then it needs to be changed so that it is more visible. Either a caution light or a 4 way stop. Yes i aggree that people should be more careful but accidents due happen.

  • Johnny Friedrich Sep 27, 2015
    user avatar

    I am sad for the losses this has caused first off. The question is how can people demand action when the drivers are not following the laws of driving. Each one was a person not following the rules of the road by running a stop sign. It is people causing the accidents not the intersection or design of the intersection. If action is demanded then demand and protest people to follow the laws of driving. You can not blame the DOT, intersection design or others for what people choose to do and put others in danger by doing it. This happens all the time with speeders and people running stop signs along with red lights but demand action from the state or government. People need to look at their neighbors and tell them to stop doing this and obey the laws of the road. No one is to blame here but the ones that ran the stop signs that put others in danger.