Driver May Have Fallen Asleep at Wheel, Crashes Into Tractor-Trailer

Posted June 8, 2007

— All lanes of eastbound Interstate 540 are open to traffic following an accident involving a car and tractor-trailer.

A Toyota Corolla and a tractor-trailer registered to Fleet Master Express in Roanoke, Va., sideswiped each other shortly after 1:30 a.m. Friday on the eastbound Interstate 540 exit ramp to westbound U.S. Highway 64 Business near Knightdale, authorities said.

Investigators said Roberto Lopez Garcia, 32, of Knightdale, may have fallen asleep and his car veered into the tractor-trailer.

The car was still in the roadway when first responders arrived at the scene, authorities said. Investigators said Garcia was wearing his seatbelt, but the impact from the accident threw him nearly 100 feet.

The tractor-trailer, which was carrying beer from Miller Brewing out of Eden, was left hanging on the highway guardrail, and its cab was engulfed in flames, authorities said. The truck driver, Buford Scott, 63, of Ruffin, was able to get out of the cab before it caught fire, authorities said.

Fire officials said it took them 15 minutes to extinguish the flames coming out of the tractor-trailer.

Crews were able to remove the tractor-trailer from the roadway at around 8:30 a.m. They spent most of the morning cleaning up broken bottles in the roadway and 75 gallons of diesel fuel that leaked from the tractor-trailer.

The ramp from I-540 to westbound U.S. 64 Business reopened shortly before noon.

According to authorities, Scott has a broken arm, and Garcia has serious injuries. Both drivers were taken to WakeMed.

Authorities said alcohol was not a factor in the accident.


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  • CarolinaCat Jun 8, 2007

    For the record, since everyone here is concerned with "transplant" versus natives, the majority of my life has been spent within 2-3 hours of Raleigh. I was born in Virginia, lived and worked everywhere from Reidsville, NC, Roxboro, NC and currently Raleigh. However, I did spend a few years in Florida, and we referred to all other states as "up north." Heck, this is 'North' Carolina! Most Hispanics I have met(and I have met many) are polite, soft-spoken, and hard-working. Many of them have learned substantial English, and can communicate rather clearly considering this is not their native tongue. I am certainly not advocating bilingual road signs, but of all the people posting these negative comments, can any of you really say you've never made a poor judgment call? It is not the bigotry some much as the hypocrisies I find offensive. Whether Mr. Garcia is Hispanic, African-American or white, I pray he recovers completely, because being ejected 100 yards had to be excruciating.

  • atozca Jun 8, 2007

    "Quite frankly, I am one person who appreciates our Hispanic immigrants. Our construction industry would fall to pieces without their hard work. Many businesses doing landscaping work for large developments would too. They work very hard and from what I observe, they perform jobs most of the rest of us don't want to do."

    nbranch -at- email -dot- unc -dot- edu

    My construction business fell apart because we couldn't compete with the below minimum, tax free wages these hard workers are willing to receive. We have restructured and rebuilt and of course we still follow the law by not hiring illegals. Unfortunately we do not hire hispanic help because of those with fake id's. We really want to do our work and are willing to fight for a right to earn a living.

    Furthermore, illegals have broken our laws. Or can we decide which laws we want to follow and not expect any consequences for breaking the ones we want to break?

  • Lukey Jun 8, 2007

    I wonder where the beer went too.

  • Lukey Jun 8, 2007

    NC to Georgia,

    I am with you. This cannot last. The same folks post the same old stuff and the same bashers bash still. These forums are nothing more than what you described. IT CANNOT LAST!

  • hollylama Jun 8, 2007

    Everyone's stuck on nationality because its a "hot" topic right now given the pending immigration bill. Its not a matter of race (race is a social construct) and ethnicity involves the group one belongs to. If we're gonna talk about it lets at least use the proper terms. Is it Mexicans Americans have a problem with or is it the corporations that profit from their labor?

  • headlong Jun 8, 2007

    Hope everyone involved will be Okay...Must have been scary for the truck driver with the cab being on fire.

    fullersix...Yes I did get a laugh out of that sentence as well *LOL* Poor Miller...or is it pour Miller

  • 1 of the original Americans Jun 8, 2007

    question - do you really beleive that all hispanics get in to accidents? Please . . . see the only difference is WRAL likes to post stories every time one is in an accidents. I saw 4 accidents this morning but the only one mentioned is the one with a Hispanic name.

    Oh by the way hispanic name does not equal illegal. And another tidbit of info most of the hispanics that I come accross do speak some English - Meaning they are trying to learn. I guess just not fast enough for the south.

  • now Jun 8, 2007

    spam, it was a transplant that broke up skin color not a native. Let me repeat and I will type slow. We were OK before you got here and we are OK (minus ungrateful transplants) now. There is a reason that not many of the native North Carolinians are flocking to your state and you are flocking here. You messed it up where you came from, so we really don't need transplants to tell us how we need to fix things especially our attitudes. Cary was a quaint little city when I was young, but now it is full of rude, obnoxious people. That is one blessing that we did put most of you in one location. You can raise Cary's taxes and mess that up all you need. Maybe we should consider a wall around Cary before the rest of the state turns into the one you fled.

  • NC to GA Jun 8, 2007

    Sadly, the only thing I come away from this news story with is the fact that no matter WHAT the news story is about, people find a reason to bash each other. It is either about being a liberal, being from Durham or Chapel Hill, going to Duke or UNC or being from up north or from Cary... I can't even keep up with the assaults.

    I've been reading/viewing WRAL for so many years (20 year native) and I was so happy when they started allowing comments. Now, I predict and suggest that they eliminate these forums.

    The hatred shared on this website is astounding and the child-like manner in which people attack each other is sad.


  • Rob Jun 8, 2007

    Statistical awareness is not racism. Illegal aliens have been encouraged by our politicians to commit crimes of entering the US illegally, stealing IDs for work permits, etc. How are they supposed to know where the cut-off is between that and driving without a license, stealing a vehicle, driving while drunk, speeding, having sex with juveniles, and other such activities that are all culturally acceptable in their society. All they know is that they get positive reinforcement for committing some crimes and go unpunished for multiple offenses of crimes that would land an American citizen in jail. Even schools have a double standard where when children of illegals get caught stealing from other students and from the school, the parents don't even get contacted because the school staff feels that would be un-PC. Simply treat all ethnic groups equally and legal law abiding immigrants will be welcome regardless of their background.