Local News

Bus driver charged in fatal I-95 crash near Benson

Posted August 3, 2015 3:21 p.m. EDT

— The driver of a bus involved in a fatal crash early Sunday on Interstate 95 near Benson has been charged with misdemeanor death by motor vehicle and careless and reckless driving, troopers said Monday.

Eric Jimmerson, 23, of New York City, was also hurt in the crash and remains hospitalized at WakeMed.

One person was killed and nine were injured when the bus crossed a median, forcing the driver of a Ford mustang to swerve off the road near mile marker 82 in Johnston County. The car struck a tree.

Authorities said Jimmerson fell asleep at the wheel.

Enid Ortiz, 54, a passenger in the Mustang, died on scene. The driver, 68-year-old Wilfredo Ortiz, was treated and released from WakeMed.

Two children in the Mustang, ages 12 and 13, were transported to WakeMed with non-life threatening injuries. Their names were not released, but they were identified as the grandchildren of the two adults in the vehicle.

Jimmerson was ejected from the bus after crossing the median. He was transported to WakMed, where he was in critical condition late Sunday.

The 48 passengers on the 60-seat bus were traveling from Queens, N.Y., to a religious conference at the Science of the Soul Study Center in Fayetteville. The group describes itself as a non-denominational organization that focuses on self-realization.

"To hear what happened was really a shock," said Rajan Shamdasani, a spokesman for the group, said Sunday. "The loss of somebody's loved one - you never want to hear of somebody's death. It hit me hard."

He said four of the bus passengers were among the nine who were injured, including an infant. They were treated and released Sunday afternoon, he said.