Local News

Freak Truck Accident Kills Woman, Sends Man to the Hospital

Posted June 24, 1997 12:00 a.m. EDT

— Just a couple of feet made the difference Tuesday morning between a stroll along Leesville Road and a deadly accident. The door of a tractor trailer swung open and hit two pedestrians, killing one of them.

Nineteen-year-old Sarah McCarthy didn't survive. Her friend, 21-year-old Paul Clayton remains in critical condition at Wake Medical Center. The couple had come to Raleigh from Florida to visit McCarthy's brother.

The J.D. Harston hauling truck was traveling along a curving section of Leesville Road when the accident happened. Police say several witnesses saw the rear door of the truck swing open to the right. The driver, Donald Phillips, never realized he hit the couple until other motorists told him.

Raleigh Police Sergeant Kirk Adams says Phillips had been on his way to get a cargo load. He had assumed the latch was secure after he unloaded some other cargo.

The truck has been impounded for further investigation. No word yet if charges are expected to be filed.