Local News

Troopers: Drunk, texting driver hits two men changing tire

Posted November 14, 2013
Updated November 15, 2013

— An inebriated driver was texting when he ran off the road Thursday night and hit two men who stopped along U.S. Highway 64 in eastern Wake County to change a flat tire, authorities said.

The injured pair – Sixto Manilla Gallegos and Alejandro Marcias, both 26 – were part of a four-person crew in a landscaping truck. They were heading east when they pulled over on the exit ramp for Lizard Lick Road at about 6 p.m. to change a tire on a trailer hauled by the truck, according to the North Carolina Highway Patrol.

texting and driving Texting driver hits two men changing flat tire

Troopers said Tony Level Richardson, 47, was driving a Nissan pickup truck and texting when he hit the trailer from behind. He then struck both men, who were standing outside the landscaping truck. The two others on the crew were unhurt.

Richardson was charged with DWI, no seatblet, texting, having an expired tag and no inspection. The injured men were taken to WakeMed.

The accident was the second in 12 hours involving a texting driver.

Troopers said a Cary man traveling on Interstate 540 Thursday morning was texting when he lost control of his SUV and hit two cars, sending a woman to a hospital and snarling traffic for hours.

Highway Patrol spokesman 1st Sgt. Jeff Gordon said Aaron Artis, 26, of 12310 Residence Circle, was driving west in the far-left lane of I-540 near Aviation Parkway shortly before 9:30 a.m. when he looked down at his phone to read a text message, looked up and then swerved to avoid hitting a vehicle that had slowed down because of a traffic delay.

Artis side-swiped a Toyota Corolla, over-corrected and then drove into the median, hitting a Volkswagen Passat that was parked in the median because of a flat tire.

The Corolla's driver, Laura Labdon, of Raleigh, was taken to Duke University Hospital, where she was listed in serious condition Thursday evening.

Adriana Sepulveda, of Raleigh, who was standing outside the Passat was slightly injured. Her 6- and 10-year-old sons were not hurt.

17 Comments

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  • winemaker81 Nov 19, 12:28 p.m.

    "Yep, and with all of the guns floating around, we're bound to start seeing road rage related shootings." -- Obamacare for one and all

    Firearms were as common 20 years as they are now, so there is no logical reason why shooting would increase now. The lack of such shootings proves your point has no merit.

  • readme Nov 19, 8:49 a.m.

    We are too soft on crime.

  • pja1357 Nov 15, 1:28 p.m.

    There is no excuse for this happening. I was almost killed by a 21 year old texting while driving a flatbed tow truck carrying a 16 passenger van that slammed in the back of me going about 50 mph as I was sitting still in traffic. He was only charged for failure to reduce speed. REALLY - I am still mentally, physically and financially suffer from this wreck. I see everyday people texting on their phone and I want to get out and take their picture and notify the police. I hate these people who think they are above the law!!

  • wral60 Nov 15, 11:35 a.m.

    Drunk at 11 pm and drunk at 6pm... Doesn't matter what time it happened... If you drive drunk you have a problem... The time doesn't make a difference.

    @simplelogic "Enough alcohol at 6pm to impair judgment? This person has a problem."

  • 42 Nov 15, 10:57 a.m.

    If you text and drive you are a lawsuit waiting to happen.

    Wishing the injured a speedy recovery.

  • LETS DIVE Nov 15, 10:25 a.m.

    when we have a law to disable mobile devices when the gps reads 5 mph or above?

  • Cleanup on Aisle Cool Nov 15, 10:21 a.m.

    There should be some jail time here.

  • Obamacare for one and all Nov 15, 10:10 a.m.

    Yep, increase the speed limit to 70mph on the highways in and around Wake county. It's all safe.
    Geez Louise

    Yep, and with all of the guns floating around, we're bound to start seeing road rage related shootings.

  • scubagirl2 Nov 15, 10:08 a.m.

    Texting and alcohol should be much MORE than a 5 yr license loss. How about some time in prison, a big fine AND losing license

  • bdu4dals2 Nov 15, 10:05 a.m.

    Time to make the law such that it just is not worth the risk, don't wait until your loved one is hurt or killed before you stand up and demand a deterrent.

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