Local News

Victim's family: Additional I-440 barriers needed

Posted November 29, 2009 5:47 p.m. EST
Updated November 29, 2009 11:19 p.m. EST

— The family of a Willow Springs man, who fell to his death Friday while trying to help wreck victims on Interstate 440, wants to see additional safety measures put in place.

Carroll "Lee" Eames Jr., 33, was killed around 7 p.m. along the I-440 Outer Beltline at Glenwood Avenue and Six Forks Road when he jumped over a barrier between the eastbound and westbound lanes to get out of the way of another vehicle.

Lee Eames apparently did not realize there was a gap between the two lanes that opens below to Crabtree Creek, police said. He fell 70 feet to the creek and died. A second man, who also jumped, survived the fall with cuts and bruises.

“For it to end like it did, it shouldn't have happen to anyone,” Adam Eames, Lee Eames' uncle, said. "There should be some protection. Lee should not have died."

After a similar accident in October 2005, in which Todd Fletcher, 26, died, the DOT placed a fence on the inside part of the Inner Beltline. However, fencing was not added to the inside part of the Outer Beltline, which is where Friday's victims jumped.

Carroll Eames Sr. said Sunday that his son used to work as a tow truck driver and often helped people at accident scenes. He said a barrier on the inside part of the Outer Beltline would have prevented his son's death.

“That hole should have been protected someway or somehow,” he said.

Marie Tanner, Lee Eames' sister, said her brother was always helping others in need.

“If he saw someone hungry, he would try to help feed them. If he saw someone cold, he would give them the shirt off his back,” she said.

Lee Eames leaves behind a daughter and stepdaughter.

“There won't be no more Lee, and I miss him,” Adam Eames said.

Department of Transportation spokesman Steve Abbott said Saturday that it's the state's policy to review fatal wreck sites to determine if road changes or upgrades are needed.

Abbott said the DOT will review Friday's fall involving Eames, but it has to wait for Raleigh police to conclude its investigation.

It's unclear if charges will be filed. The wrecks happened in quick succession, police said. The first left a car stopped sideways in the highway. Two cars then hit the first.

View I-440 closed due to wreck in a larger map