Local News

Man killed after semi hits mower on I-95

Posted October 27, 2010 1:08 p.m. EDT
Updated October 27, 2010 6:55 p.m. EDT

— A man was killed in Cumberland County Wednesday morning when a tractor-trailer collided with his mower while he was cutting grass in the median of Interstate 95, authorities said.

The tractor-trailer hit two safety vehicles with flashing warning arrows and went to the left of a third before hitting the mower shortly after 11:30 a.m., said Trooper Greg Steffens of the state Highway Patrol.

The mower operator was identified as John Glenn McLean, 47, of Erwin.

McLean works for Martin Edwards and Associates, which contracts with the state Department of Transportation to cut the grass in the median and along each shoulder of the highway.

"His brother was actually cutting grass in front of him on another tractor," Steffens said, noting that the second mower wasn't hit.

McLean's son, Jerome Stewart, 19, was in one of the safety vehicles that was hit, Steffens said. He was taken to Cape Fear Valley Medical Center for observation after being shaken up.

"I talked to his son. He's not doing real well," Steffens said.

Truck driver Luis Valdes, 65, of Lehigh Acres, Fla., suffered minor injuries in the wreck. The tractor-trailer was owned by Marlu Transportation Services.

Troopers were trying to determine Wednesday afternoon what caused the truck to run off the road. Steffens said it didn't appear that drugs or alcohol were involved.

"All the witnesses that saw the collision continued traveling down the highway. We don't have a firsthand witness to the collision," Steffens said.

No charges have yet been filed in the case.

The wreck closed the left lane of northbound I-95 at the U.S. Highway 13/ Newton Grove exit (Exit 58) until 3 p.m., causing lengthy delays.

The incident isn't the first fatal mowing accident on I-95 in Cumberland County. One occurred more than a decade ago, killing the mower operator, and it led to a brief suspension of mowing procedures.