Local News

Motorcyclist killed in Interstate 540 wreck

A brick mason foreman from Fuquay-Varina, who family members said loved motorcycles, died in three-vehicle wreck on Interstate 540 East Friday night.

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KNIGHTDALE, N.C. — A motorcyclists died in a wreck involving a tractor-trailer on Interstate 540 East late Friday night, Knightdale police said.

Three motorcycles were traveling between Buffaloe Road exit and U.S. Highway 64 Business on I-540 East when two of the motorcycles made contact shortly before 10:30 p.m., Lt. David Simmons said.

Willie Jenkins Hodges, 46, of Fuquay-Varina, lost control of his bike and wrecked. He was ejected and landed in the middle of the road, where an 18-wheeler truck ran over him, Simmons said.

Hodges declared dead upon arrival at a local hospital.

Hodges, a brick-mason foreman who loved to ride motorcycles, was out for a ride with his brother and another rider, family members said. Hodges’ family returned to the scene of the wreck on Saturday.

“He was like a brother to me, more so than a brother-in-law,” said Angela Graham, Hodges’ sister-in-law.

Services for Hodges will be held Tuesday at New Providence Missionary Baptist Church. Visitation will be held from 11 a.m. to noon, and the funeral will follow.

In lieu of flowers, family members requested that donations be sent to the New Providence Education Fund. Checks can be mailed to at New Providence Missionary Baptist Church, 4813 Hilltop Needmore Road in Fuquay-Varina.

No one else was injured in the wreck, and Simmons said no charges have been filed.

Detectives said multiple witnesses reported seeing the motorcycle trio traveling at a high rate of speed before the crash. Police were investigating those claims.

Driver James Zack told WRAL News that he had to swerve to avoid several speeding motorcycles moments before the wreck.

“They were going as fast as motorcycles will go,” Zack said.

Zack said witnessing the wreck has been extremely tough on him.

“I’m not going to be sleeping for a while, I don’t think,” Zack said.

I-540 East was closed for several hours and traffic diverted at Buffaloe Road as state troopers and Knightdale police officers worked the scene. Westbound lanes remained open.