Local News

Woman Charged In I-40 Accident In Durham

Posted August 11, 2004 3:42 a.m. EDT

— Durham police have charged a driver who they say struck two highway construction workers Tuesday morning along eastbound Interstate 40 near the Durham-Wake County line.

Police say three construction workers were trying to close one eastbound lane of the interstate approaching I-540 to do survey work at 9:08 a.m. when a vehicle driven by Charlene Bryant Deans, 28, of Greensboro, went into a skid and struck two of the men.

"The vehicle swerved to the right, went into the third lane, came back over and struck the median guard wall and struck two of the workers," said Cpl. D.S. Culver of the Durham Police Department.

One construction worker, Noel Serna, 31, of Morrisville, suffered serious internal injuries and was airlifted to Duke University Hospital by LifeFlight. A second construction worker, Jose Ayala, 48, of Morrisville, was taken to Duke by ambulance for treatment of internal injuries.

A third construction worker, Gerardo Ayala of Morrisville, jumped over the retaining wall to safety. Police say all of the injuries were non-life-threatening. The Ayalas are brothers and all three men are employees of Lane Construction Co. in Morrisville.

Deans was treated for minor injuries at Duke University Hospital. She was charged with speeding in a work zone and not having insurance.

"We are constantly evaluating the safety on the project -- traffic control, the equipment -- everything. We are monitoring it very closely and it does hit home to see somebody hit, because it could be our guys," said Boyd Tharrington, an engineer with the state Department of Transportation.

Traffic in that area was slow for at least two hours as the DOT closed three of four lanes during its investigation. The lanes have reopened.