Local News

Drivers Charged in Deadly Durham Accident

Posted August 15, 1997 12:00 a.m. EDT

— The Durham district attorney will file charges against several drivers involved in Thursday's deadly accident in a Durham construction zone. Three people died in the crash. Seven others were injured.

Friday, district attorney Jim Hardin met with the Durham Police Department. They have decided to charge four people in connection with the pile-up.

The truck driver from Charlotte who hit the car carrying a family from Virginia will be charged with three counts of death by motor vehicle. The driver of the car believed to have spun out of control setting off the chain reaction is expected to be charged with careless and reckless driving.

Another truck driver and the driver of van from Maryland will be charged with speeding. Originally, fatigue was thought to have been a factor in the accident. Friday, police say that is not the case. They say tailgating and speeding were to blame. It's just another indicator I-85 through Durham is a dangerous stretch of road, the 14th most dangerous to be exact.

According to DMV officials, I-85 through Durham is in a "high accident corridor." The speed limit there is 55 miles-per-hour, but the department of transportation recommends motorists go 45. Despite the posted limits, vehicles continue to travel in excess of 65, even in a construction zone.

Officer Robert Bowling of the DMV says Thursday's accident is the worst he's seen in his career. Ironically enough, the concrete barriers in the construction zone may have prevented the accident from taking even more lives. Had the barriers not been there, officers say some of the cars and trucks may have crossed into oncoming traffic.