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Driver dies in logging truck crash

Posted July 10, 2008

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— A driver died Thursday when his logging truck hit a guardrail on the Interstate 440 Inner Beltline in Raleigh, went down an embankment and crashed into a tree in the woods.

The driver has been identified as Eric Gene Simmons, 54, of 1609 Dogwood Acres Drive in Sanford. The truck he was driving belonged to Elliott Logging Inc., 4385 Center Church Road in Sanford.

The accident occurred just after 10:30 a.m. Traffic was backed up for hours near the South Saunders Street interchange.

The driver's body was pinned inside the truck. Authorities said they were not sure why the logging truck went off the road, but witnesses said they believed the truck struck the guardrail due to a ruptured tire.

After the truck struck the guardrail and exited the road, it overturned onto its left side and continued to travel down the embankment, according to police. A tree struck the truck in the upper-front portion of the cab. Logs separated from the truck’s trailer and one struck a nearby parked 18-wheeler truck. The driver of that truck took shelter between that truck’s cab and trailer. He was not injured.

At 5:30 p.m. crews had cleared debris from the scene.

46 Comments

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  • Cheeksgirl Jul 11, 10:08 a.m.

    Oh good grief people! A man lost his life yesterday and all you can do is speculate about why he ran off the road.

    How about offering some condolences to the family of this man! You are some of the most inconsiderate people. What if it was your father, husband or even yourself that ran off the road and was killed. What you want people speculating that your carelessness resulted in your death?

    Ingorance is bliss!

  • PlanetX Jul 11, 9:50 a.m.

    "A tree struck the truck in the upper-front portion of the cab. Logs separated from the truck’s trailer and one struck a nearby parked 18-wheeler truck. "

    I'm sorry - is it just me or does this make NO SENSE whatsoever??? 1) How can a tree strike a truck, and 2) can anyone translate the rest of that?? C'mon WRAL - work with me here....

  • dm919 Jul 11, 7:32 a.m.

    "But there are some truck drivers that will push you down the road even when you are 5 miles over the speed limit."

    This doesn't apply to just big rigs. Get out of the left lane! It isn't for soccer moms taking their kids to gymnastics.

  • iamforjustice Jul 10, 8:16 p.m.

    I am very sorry for this incident to happen. My prayers are with him and his family. I really don't think trucks should be on I-440. There should be a thoroughfare for truckers around Raleigh with very wide lanes. We also need truck stops in this area and weigh stations to make sure the drivers aren't over worked.

  • majorme Jul 10, 6:40 p.m.

    A life is lost!
    Thoughts and Prayers are with the family!

  • poindek3 Jul 10, 6:35 p.m.

    i drive a truck and i don't speed or tailgate . i spend most of my time looking out for other drivers that are too busy to pay attention to what is around them. if you want your blood to run cold , imagine this. a small prius pulls out in front of you, goes two driveways down and stops to turn left waiting for oncoming traffic. now you make 30,000 pounds go from 55 to 0 while looking at the face of a child in the back window. trust me things got real tight over 1 second of i am not waiting on a truck. Prayers for the driver and his family . R.I.P.

  • briteside Jul 10, 5:26 p.m.

    Whatever the story is, it doesn't give A (not all) truck driver (or anyone) the right to try to run a family off the road because they COULDN'T move over fast enough. That's called "road rage", and that particular truck driver had it bad. As I said in my last sentence, I don't hold a grudge against all truck drivers.

  • bngexpress Jul 10, 4:59 p.m.

    all of you "BIG TRUCK HATERS" need to ride in a big truck for one week , i'll bet you all would have a different outlook ,it is so easy to judge others before you know the whole story.

  • tarheelblue919 Jul 10, 4:34 p.m.

    i hear alot of comments talking bad about truckers and how disgusting they are. i dont think those comments should be made about "truckers". its not about a trucker, and i think if you actually step back and look at the WHOLE picture, you will see that there are nasty disgusting foul mouth PEOPLE, everywhere and in EVERY career. not just trucking. my husband is a "trucker" and i'm proud of it! if it werent for all those big foul mouth no driving disgusting truckers you folks wouldnt have the luxury of all the material items that are readily available to you!!! food, clothes, tv's, etc....SO with that said, i hope reality sets in to some of you making those harsh comments and you realize its individuals with bad qualitites, of all careers, races, and backgrounds, not just a "trucker"!

  • US VET Jul 10, 4:10 p.m.

    just about every bad wreck that happens seems to involve a "big rig" Its no wonder the way they drive, Everytime I see one the are driving 10-20 miles over the speed limit , tailgating, or talking on their CBs or cell phones. I used to think they were professional drivers, but now I do everything to stay clear of them...

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