The accident happened shortly before 10 a.m. A motorist with two passengers in his car ran a stop sign and struck a Ford Taurus traveling west on N.C. Highway 24.
Both cars spun sideways. The Taurus was struck by a Ford Mustang.
A second Ford Mustang ran off the road to avoid the collision but stopped next to it. The gas tank of the Ford Taurus ruptured and exploded, catching all four cars on fire.
A fifth car also ran off the road to avoid the accident but did not catch fire.
The people inside the Taurus -- identified as Joe Bass Jr., 44, and Penelope Anderson, 43, both of Clinton -- died at the scene.
The man who allegedly ran the stop sign, identified as Jamie Rayes, 19, of Autryville, was in the Sampson County jail on $41,000 bond after being charged on several counts, including two counts of misdemeanor death by motor vehicle.
Two passengers in Rayes' car, children ages 9 and 2, had minor injuries, were treated at a hospital and released. Another passenger in his car, 19-year-old Stephanie Mauricio, suffered a broken arm.
The man in one Mustang, Steven Horner, 24, of Garland, was in fair condition at UNC Hospitals in Chapel Hill, a hospital spokeswoman said. Horner was pulled from his burning car by a Fayetteville man identified as Orlando Jones and a Camp Lejeune Marine, Kenneth LeMoult, who had pulled over when they saw the wreck. A Highway Patrol spokesperson said they saved Horner's life.
Rayes left the scene of the accident. A passerby saw Rayes and his passengers getting out of the car about 2.5 miles away from the accident scene at Mauricio's grandparents' home. The witness told troopers what he had seen, and troopers tracked Rayes down at the house.
Rayes was not injured. He was charged with felony leaving the scene of an accident, two counts of misdemeanor death by motor vehicle, failing to stop for stop sign, driving without a license, driving a vehicle with no insurance, and driving a vehicle with no registration.
Two people in the second Ford Mustang were treated at a hospital for minor injuries and released. They were 19-year-old Joseph Cartwright of Carteret County, the driver, and 19-year-old Andrew Springfield of Carteret County.
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