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Pregnant Woman Dead, 3 Injured in Beltline Wreck

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RALEIGH — An early morning accident along the Raleigh beltline has killed a Fuquay-Varina woman and her unborn child.

Vanesa Simon, 18, of Fuquay-Varina was killed. She was six months into her pregnancy.

Simon was in the back seat of a Chevy Blazer which had stalled in the right lane of the inner beltline, near the Poole Road exit, about 4:30 a.m.

Police say the tractor-trailer, a tandem one, swerved to avoid the vehicle which apparently had engine trouble. An upcoming construction zone did not leave room.

"There was a tractor-trailer rig behind that vehicle who slammed on the brakes, veered to the left to try to miss the vehicle, struck the vehicle in the left rear, causing extensive damage to that vehicle. The tractor-trailer rig then overturned," says Raleigh Police Capt. D.S. Overman.

Officers estimate the trucker's speed at 50 miles per hour, upon impact.

"Right now it appears it was below the posted speed limit. Speed does not appear to be a factor in the accident at this time," says Overman.

Three other people were in the vehicle: the victims' sister, Jennifer Simon, 19, Lateesha Michelle Cooper, 19, and Christian Cooper, 2. All are related and are from Fuquay-Varina.

Cooper, the driver, is in stable condition at WakeMed. Her son was treated and released from the hospital.

The truck driver, Willie Albert Elam, 63, was not injured. A court search found no citations against him in North Carolina.

Federal records show his company,Consolidated Freightways, has had 10 fatal crashes in the past two years.

The company, which has 13,000 drivers, has a satisfactory safety rating from the U.S. Government. andMichelle Singer