Local News

Witness: Woman tried to stop suspect before fatal Durham crash

Posted September 22

— A man who witnessed the aftermath of the first of two crashes in Durham Thursday night said a woman ran after the suspect and tried to stop him from continuing on his path of destruction.

The North Carolina State Highway Patrol laid out the driver’s path like this:

At about 9 p.m., Donnell T. Williams, 32, of Durham, was driving a car hit a van on Highway 70, near Sherron Road before crashing into a building.

Williams then proceeded through a Burger King parking lot and onto Mineral Springs Road, where he hit another vehicle head-on.

Scott Strickland said he saw the first collision, when the suspect's car hit the van, the van then hit a SUV.

A woman in the SUV got out and tried to chase Williams down.

"She was the one that got out and was chasing after the car. And then his car hits the wall, backs up and pulls out," Strickland said. "Parts of the car fell off. There was a bunch of fluid from whatever had blown up in the engine."

Jacob Countiss is the sales and marketing manager at HeyDay Inboards Inc., one of the businesses in the building damaged by Williams.

A pole was knocked down in the parking lot and one of the exterior walls of the building had a large hole in it.

"There was a fair amount of velocity that hit and struck right there," Countiss said. "I'm very surprised that his vehicle was able to continue running after making contact with the building."

Strickland said, "I wish I could've gotten across the intersection and blocked him at the top of the exit. He probably would have tried to drive right through me."

"One deputy arrived, one firetruck arrived, and you heard the second call come in over their radios, 'Hey, there is a second car accident,'" he said.

Minutes later, troopers said, Williams hit another car head-on on Mineral Springs Road. He was killed in the crash.

"There were emergency personnel from the north, south, east and west to facilitate both of the accidents," Strickland said.

The driver of the car Williams hit in the second crash remains in critical condition. A teenager was also in that car and was uninjured, according to troopers.

"Everyone was angry at the driver. The lady who chased after him, she expressed multiple times what she would've done if she caught up with the individual," Strickland said.

Toxicology tests are being conducted.

1 Comment

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  • Nicolle Leney Sep 22, 5:36 p.m.
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    I hope that the driver in the car that Williams hit is okay. Please update us on their progress.