Local News

Suspected impaired driver kills two motorcyclists in Harnett

Posted June 19, 2011 8:09 a.m. EDT
Updated June 22, 2011 7:06 a.m. EDT

— A driver, who state troopers believe was impaired and playing with an iPod, struck and killed a couple riding a motorcycle south of Dunn early Sunday.

A white Chevy pickup truck driven by Samuel Alan Brown II crossed the center line while traveling north on N.C. Highway 82, near the Averasboro Civil War Battleground, around 12:20 a.m., troopers said. The vehicle struck a southbound motorcycle, tossing both the driver and passenger from it.

The driver, Christopher Smith, and passenger, Ashli M. Armstrong, 20, of Dunn, died of their injuries. 

Smith leaves behind two children, a 5-year-old boy and 2-year-old girl. Armstrong was a volunteer with Dunn Emergency Services for more than a year, Chief Austin Tew said.

"You never know when you roll up on a scene if it's going to be somebody you know, and in this case, it's family," Tew said. "That makes a difference."

Tim Bezgela, Smith's friend who was riding his own motorcycle alongside the couple, saw the crash.

"It was terrible," he said. "There was nothing anybody could have done."

Brown, 25, of 731 Ebenezer Church Road in Coats, was charged with two counts of felony death by motor vehicle, driving while impaired, driving left of center and careless and reckless driving. He was being held in the Harnett County jail Sunday under a $100,000 bond.