Driver dies in logging truck crash

Posted July 10, 2008 11:20 a.m. EDT
Updated July 10, 2008 5:38 p.m. EDT

— A driver died Thursday when his logging truck hit a guardrail on the Interstate 440 Inner Beltline in Raleigh, went down an embankment and crashed into a tree in the woods.

The driver has been identified as Eric Gene Simmons, 54, of 1609 Dogwood Acres Drive in Sanford. The truck he was driving belonged to Elliott Logging Inc., 4385 Center Church Road in Sanford.

The accident occurred just after 10:30 a.m. Traffic was backed up for hours near the South Saunders Street interchange.

The driver's body was pinned inside the truck. Authorities said they were not sure why the logging truck went off the road, but witnesses said they believed the truck struck the guardrail due to a ruptured tire.

After the truck struck the guardrail and exited the road, it overturned onto its left side and continued to travel down the embankment, according to police. A tree struck the truck in the upper-front portion of the cab. Logs separated from the truck’s trailer and one struck a nearby parked 18-wheeler truck. The driver of that truck took shelter between that truck’s cab and trailer. He was not injured.

At 5:30 p.m. crews had cleared debris from the scene.