The driver of a speeding Lexus sedan tried to turn onto Lake Wheeler Road from Penny Road south of Raleigh at about midnight, and the car skidded off the road and hit a tree, authorities said. The car then rolled down an embankment and ended up upside-down in a creek, authorities said.
Firas Shaikh was killed in the wreck. His brother, Fuad Shaikh, the driver of the car was listed in critical condition at WakeMed.
Less than an hour later, a sport utility vehicle was speeding along Elevation Road between Benson and Four Oaks in Johnston County when the driver lost control in a curve, authorities said. The SUV went off the right side of the road, hit an embankment and overturned, authorities said.
Both the driver and the passenger, who authorities said were cousins, were ejected from the SUV. Randy Glenn Stanley, 42, of Four Oaks, was killed. The driver, Ronald Allen, 37, was listed in serious condition at WakeMed.
Alcohol also was a factor in the Johnston County wreck, but authorities said drivers need to slow down and exercise caution on area roads.
"If they just slow down, exercise safe driving habits, common sense, they can get through the holiday season," said Trooper H.C. Ellefson of the state Highway Patrol.