Local News

Two Dead, Several Injured In Fiery I-95 Wreck

Posted January 16, 1998 12:00 a.m. EST

— A chain-reaction crash in a rain-slickened construction zone on Interstate 95 killed two people and injured four others Friday, authorities said.

Numerous wrecks have occurred in the five-mile stretch since work on the safety-improvement project began in August. Friday's crash was the first to claim lives. Guy Edward Herring, 42, of Marion, S.C., and Dennis Smith, 47, of Turkey, were killed in the crash, said Carolyn Eley of the Highway Patrol.

Although police have blamed previous wrecks on the narrow lanes and constrictive concrete barriers of the work zone, they said it's too soon to tell whether the work zone was a factor in the accident.

The eight-vehicle wreck occurred about 5:10 p.m. between the N.C. 72 and Carthage Road exits in Lumberton, said Highway Patrol spokesperson Sara Kempin.

A pick-up truck driven by Herring was towing a Ford Explorer in the southbound lane. He apparently lost control, crossed the median and hit a northbound tractor-trailer driven by Smith head-on, Kempin said.

Both vehicles burst into flames on impact, she said.

The impact caused the Explorer to break loose from the pick-up. The Explorer skidded past the initial collision and tumbled down the highway like a boulder, hitting four other cars in the northbound lane, Kempin said. A van following the Lundy Packing Co. tractor-trailer in the northbound lane rear-ended the trailer, which was empty, she said.

The injured victims were taken to Southeastern General Hospital in Lumberton, Kempin said.

Doug Brown, of Jacksonville, was a passenger in the tractor-trailer. He was transferred to the burn center at UNC Hospitals in Chapel Hill Friday night, Kempin said. Antonio Hayes, of Fort Bragg, was in a Chevy Cavalier that was crushed by the runaway Explorer. He was transferred to Duke Hospitals Friday night, Kempin said.

Both men were listed in critical condition late Friday.

Terri and Keith Rose, of Saint Pauls, were also in one of the cars hit by the Explorer. They were being treated at Southeastern for non-life-threatening injuries, Kempin said.

The crash backed up traffic for more than six miles, Kempin said.

The southbound lanes of the interstate were re-opened about 7:45 p.m., said Kempin. The northbound lanes were re-opened about 9:30 p.m., she said.

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