Local News

Survivor recounts fatal I-40 chain-reaction crash

Posted February 5, 2015

— Judy Barefoot said it took a split second for three cars to slam into each other Tuesday morning on Interstate 40 in Garner, killing one man.

"All of a sudden, I saw this car coming across the median, and I knew it was out of control," Barefoot said Thursday at her Clayton home.

According to the State Highway Patrol, an SUV cut in front of a Pontiac Trans Am driven by Paul Eric Rosequist on eastbound I-40 near the Jones Sausage Road exit, causing Rosequist to swerve. The Trans Am veered across the highway median into the westbound lanes.

Rosequist's car hit a Chevrolet Impala, which then struck Barefoot's Kia Sorrento, and the Trans Am then slammed into a guard rail.

"It just exploded, car parts everywhere," said Barefoot, 70, who was taking her cancer-stricken husband, George, to Raleigh for a doctor's appointment.

Meanwhile, she struggled to hold the wheel to keep from hitting the trees all around her as the Sorrento skidded off the highway.

"When we finally got stopped, there was a tree on each side of us. She went right between them," George Barefoot said. "She done wonderful."

Judy Barefoot then surveyed the wreckage.

"I said, 'Whoever was in that car, I'm afraid they didn't make it,'" she recalled.

Rosequist, 62, of Garner, died at the scene, while Judy Barefoot and the Impala's driver, Elizabeth Langdon, 66, of Clayton, were taken to WakeMed. Langdon remained in the hospital Thursday.

The Highway Patrol is looking for the burgundy Chevrolet SUV or GMC Envoy, and Judy Barefoot said she hopes troopers find the driver.

"Whoever was driving that car, they need to contact someone, and let's bring closure to this. We need to bring closure to this. That's the right thing to do," she said.

Duane Mote, who was driving a transfer truck carrying two Humvees from Raleigh to Wilmington for the North Carolina Army National Guard and saw the crash, said he doesn't think the SUV driver realized he or she caused the wreck.

"I don't believe he made contact with the vehicle," Mote said, adding that it's still important for the driver to come forward. "I hope they track this vehicle down and get their point of view."

Anyone who has information about the crash or can identify the driver of the SUV is asked to call the Highway Patrol at 919-733-3861 or 919-733-4400.


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  • PanthersFan45 Feb 6, 2015

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    While It may sound a little like sarcasm it almost seems true. Not just here in Raleigh though. I drove to Charlotte this morning and returned this afternoon and the bobbing and weaving w/o using signals is amazing. In fact a Mustang with NY plates used the far left shoulder area at the concrete median (not the highway) to create his own 4th lane to get around some cars at a high rate of speed. That was at the I85 split after you've gone by Mebane and have the option to go I40 To Chapel Hill and Raleigh. It was a priceless move that I know turned every ones heads !!

  • OneLove Feb 6, 2015

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  • Steve Faulkner Feb 6, 2015
    user avatar

    View quoted thread

    Were you a witness? Sounds like you know exactly what happened. I still have questions.

  • findoutthefacts Feb 6, 2015

    how do we know that the trans am driver wasn't paying attention, someone made a legal lane change, trans am driver looks up and freaks out and swerves?

    Under NO CIRCUMSTANCE is the reaction of the trans am driver acceptable. Swerving is an over-reaction!

  • Obamacare rides again Feb 6, 2015

    View quoted thread

    No, but I do extend my middle finger, every, single, time.

  • Ben Sanders Feb 6, 2015
    user avatar

    View quoted thread

    If someone changes lanes in front of you and doesn't use a signal, do you drive your car off the road too?

  • Obamacare rides again Feb 6, 2015

    "She done wonderful."

    Git 'er done!!

  • Jack Miller Feb 6, 2015
    user avatar

    One out of 5 drivers in the Triangle actually know how to use a turn signal. That may have a lot to do with this.

  • Lightfoot On Wral Feb 6, 2015
    user avatar

    "Sounds like they did nothing to be hunted down for" - xylem01

    So you're saying the SUV signaled, and did a proper, safe, and legal lane change?

  • JAT Feb 6, 2015

    Could this have been a simple case of over-reaction of the TransAm driver? Perhaps the SUV did nothing wrong but the TransAm driver over-reacted. This happens all the time. I have relatives who over-react when they're approaching an intersection and they don't think the car crossing the highway is going to stop. If an accident occurred, it wouldn't be because of the other driver - it would be because my relative over-reacted to a situation.