Explosion, Fire Follow Fatal Wreck On Eastbound I-40 In Johnston County
Posted April 20, 2004 7:00 a.m. EDT
JOHNSTON COUNTY, N.C. — A deadly wreck and its aftermath backed up traffic on Interstate 40 in Johnston County for eight hours Monday.
The state Highway Patrol says a Smithfield motorist was killed after driving westbound in the eastbound lanes around 11:30 p.m. Sunday near mile marker 320.
"We got a call from a cellular phone that a car was going the wrong way on the interstate," said Trooper Michael Dorsey of the Highway Patrol.
Five minutes later, another call came.
"They called back and confirmed we had a fatality," Dorsey said.
The driver of a Chevrolet Cavalier collided with a Honda Accord head-on.
Sean Morley, 23, the driver of the Cavalier, died at the scene. Two people in the Accord -- 19-year-old Esther Danielle Ryan and 21-year-old Brandon Scott Farrow -- are listed in critical condition.
Officials say drugs or alcohol do not appear to be factors.
As authorities investigated the first accident, troopers got a call at 1:26 a.m. about a second accident involving four trucks less than two miles away that resulted in an explosion and fire.
"This accident was a result of traffic being backed up from the fatality," Dorsey said.
The Highway Patrol says a tractor trailer swerved right to miss a stalled vehicle in the roadway. Four tractor trailers collided; two erupted in flames.
Crews worked to put out fire that lit up I-40 near mile marker 319.
None of the truck drivers received life-threatening injuries, officials said.