A Faison-area man driving without a license has now been charged in connection with a fatal vehicle collision at Old Warsaw Road and Mathis Road in late June, after the victim he struck when he ran a stop sign succumbed 10 days later to his injuries.
Mariano Jimenez-Shilon, 20, of 106 Johnny B Tann Lane, Faison, was charged Monday with death by vehicle, a misdemeanor offense, in the death of Isaiah Sanquan Stewart, 26, of 988 S. Railroad St., Warsaw. Stewart died July 4 from severe injuries sustained in the wreck, notably to his head.
He was ejected when his 2011 Nissan SUV flipped from the impact of Jimenez-Shilon’s vehicle, a 2010 Nissan passenger car, which struck the SUV’s passenger side. Stewart was not wearing a seat belt at the time, reports state.
Jimenez-Shilon was served the death by vehicle charge at the Sampson County Sheriff’s Office Monday and was placed under $2,500 secured bond for the offense. A warrant was issued on Thursday in the case, which was investigated by the N.C. Highway Patrol in Sampson County. Jimenez-Shilon was initially charged with no operator’s license and stop sign violation following the June 24 wreck. His mugshot was not available.
“We did charge and bond him at that time,” Highway Patrol First Sgt. David Kinlaw said Tuesday, noting a $500 bond. “That’s been upgraded to misdemeanor death by vehicle.”
He termed the case a “delayed fatal,” in which a victim will die days, or even weeks, later from injuries they sustain. While such cases are not entirely uncommon, they are “not normally a typical thing,” the first sergeant noted.
According to reports by Trooper C.H. Strickland, the Nissan passenger car being driven by Jimenez-Shilon was traveling east on Mathis Road when it failed to stop at the intersection, colliding with the Nissan SUV Stewart was driving south on Old Warsaw Road. The car and SUV were traveling 45 mph and 50 mph, respectively, at impact. There were no passengers in either vehicle.
Following the collision, the car crossed the center line of Old Warsaw Road, ran off the left side of the roadway and came to rest in a ditch. The SUV crossed the center line, ran off the left side of the roadway, struck a ditch and began to roll over, ejecting Stewart. Both vehicles came to rest in a cornfield east of Old Warsaw Road, about 2.5 miles southwest of Clinton.
Stewart was airlifted to WakeMed in Raleigh, where he received treatment until his death. Jimenez-Shilon was transported by Sampson EMS to Sampson Regional Medical Center to be treated for minor injuries.
While Kinlaw noted some tall corn stalks in the area of the intersection that could have obstructed Jimenez-Shilon’s view of oncoming traffic, he never slowed for the stop sign, reports indicate.
“There was a ‘stop sign ahead’ sign and a stop sign,” said Kinlaw. “It’s not like it jumps up on you.”
The death is just the sixth on Sampson County roadways this year, a far cry from numbers in recent years at the same time. There have been none since. Through seven months last year, there were 15 fatalities. The N.C. Highway Patrol in Sampson ultimately investigated 23 fatalities in all of 2016.
“Our fatalities are way down,” Kinlaw attested. “I hope we can hold out for the rest of the year.”
Kinlaw conceded that five-year averages were really the best gauge of measuring effectiveness of enforcement, patrols and awareness campaigns, as year to year numbers can fluctuate. However, he did the increased number of troopers across Sampson County, up by two from last year.
“We’ve got more guys on the road this year than we had last year. There were four (trooper) openings last year. There are only two openings now, so we’re in a lot better position,” said Kinlaw, who added that the recruitment process to fill those last two positions is ongoing. “We have 11 troopers — five or six are working at any given point.”
Reach Managing Editor Chris Berendt at 910-249-4616. Follow the paper on twitter @SampsonInd and like us on Facebook.