Local News

DOT Engineers Look For Safety Solution At Scene Of Fatal Harnett County Wreck

Posted April 26, 2004 5:39 a.m. EDT

— Engineers from the North Carolina Department of Transportation were at the scene of a deadly wreck in which a truck crashed into a house Monday, surveying the area for a possible safety solution.

The crash happened at the intersection of Elliot Bridge and Shady Grove, a few miles south of Lillington. A man driving a truck ran a stop sign at about 70 miles per hour, smashed through two fences, a tree and a boat and came to rest in the bedroom of Shannon McBee's 12-year-old son.

When the truck hit McBee's boat, it threw the propeller assembly from the boat over his house and into a neighbor's yard -- a ride of about 250 feet.

When the engineers came to the scene Monday, it looked like a tornado had torn through Shannon McBee's yard and house.

McBee's son was not in the room at the time.

"He happened to get up that night and asked if he could stay up a little bit late watching cartoons," McBee said. "I let him, and he fell asleep on the couch, so he wasn't in there, fortunately."

The driver of the truck, 27-year-old John Coats, of Linden, N.C., died. His two passengers were hurt.

McBee said there have been 12 wrecks in seven years at that intersection -- and numerous vehicles winding up in his yard. He said he has contacted the DOT after every crash and that he never has been called back.

"It's nice to see that they're actually out here looking into it," McBee said Monday. "But it's a shame that it takes the death of somebody to get out here and actually look at it."

DOT officials said they have records of only three wrecks in the last three years at the intersection.

The engineers sent to the look at the intersection said they will do something to make it safer; they just do not know what or when.

"Once we get all the data in, once we get all the crash reports in, then myself and my staff will work together," DOT engineer Al Grandy said. "We'll come up and try to develop the best solution."

McBee and his neighbors want something done before more people die.