Local News

Man Charged With Death-by-Vehicle in Johnston Crash

Posted March 5, 2007 12:22 p.m. EST
Updated March 7, 2007 12:48 p.m. EST

— A Johnston County man sought in connection with a fatal accident Sunday night was apprehended at his home Monday evening and ordered held on $2 million bond, authorities said, and they said they believed he had used an alias.

Luciano Tellez, 31, of Angier was charged with driving with a suspended license at the time of the wreck, which killed the driver and passenger in a tractor-trailer, state troopers said. He also was charged with two counts of misdemeanor death by vehicle, felony hit-and-run and running a stop sign, the highway patrol reported.

Troopers said they thought that Tellez Diaz, the name they had been given for the driver of the car, was an alias that he used. Tellez also was wanted on warrants for probation violation, troopers said

The two victims were burned beyond recognition in the fiery crash, and authorities hadn't identified them by Monday night.

A Ford Contour ran a stop sign at N.C. Highway 210 and Plainview Church Road and broadsided a tractor-trailer cab at about 7 p.m. Sunday, authorities said. The truck then veered off the road, overturned and caught fire.

Some nearby residents said they thought the truck driver swerved in an effort to avoid direct impact.

"In this case, it seems that he sacrificed his own life to try to save somebody in that car that he didn't even know," said Shaw Fish, who lives near the crash scene.

One person in the Ford Contour fled the scene on foot. A woman and the man who owned the car remained at the scene and told authorities what happened.

The two people, who claimed they were passengers, suffered minor injuries but weren't taken to a hospital, authorities said.

Troopers apprehended Tellez near his home and took him to a Johnston County magistrate's office.

He was convicted of drunken driving in 2005 and has a suspended license, authorities said.

Authorities said they believe alcohol played a role in the wreck.

Ronnie Fish called 911 after heaing the crash outside his house. He said other collisions have occurred at the intersection, but they weren't nearly as bad as the one Sunday night.

"A neighbor heard it, and he came out here with his fire extinguisher and he did what he could. But it wasn't much help for the people in the truck," Fish said.

A state Department of Transportation crew replaced the intersection's stop sign Monday morning. The old one was covered with black spray paint, but troopers said they did not believe that contributed to the accident.

"One of the passengers made the comment that they started slowing down for the stop sign and the guy was, like, 'I think I can make it,' and he pulled out in front of the tractor-trailer," Trooper Derrock Mobley said.