NCHP: Details sought in dirt bike fatality

By Chris Berendt -

HARRELLS — N.C. Highway Patrol officials are still investigating a fatal dirt bike collision in southern Sampson County last weekend that ultimately claimed the life of a 28-year-old man from Ivanhoe, and are seeking any details the public can provide to assist them.

Justin Wright, 28, reportedly of 1100 Fallen Log Court, Raleigh, formerly of Ivanhoe, died Wednesday at New Hanover Regional Medical Center from the injuries he sustained in a dirt bike wreck Sunday, Oct. 18, on Bland School Road. The fatal incident, which was a head-on collision with another dirt bike, happened just shortly before 8 p.m. near Wildcat Road, just south of Harrells.

“We’re still gathering a few more pieces for the investigation,” Highway Patrol First Sgt. T.T. Daniels said Friday. “Two dirt bikes collided head-on and Justin Wright was killed as a result. The nature of the incident is what we’re still trying to find out.”

While Wright succumbed to his injuries, the man operating the other dirt bike, Terrance Simmons of Clinton, suffered “significant, serious injuries that were not life-threatening,” Daniels noted.

Wright’s death was the 21st on Sampson County roadways this year, the first since a fatal one-car collision south of Garland claimed four lives — three Harrells residents and a driver from Florida — last month.

With more than two months still left in 2015, Highway Patrol troopers in Sampson County have already investigated 17 deadly wrecks that have resulted in 21 deaths, local records show. That far exceeds the nine deaths investigated in all of 2014.

Daniels said no charges have been brought in the Oct. 18 fatality, but investigation into the deadly incident is ongoing.

“We want to make sure nothing was actually going on,” he remarked, alluding to illegal activity that could have led to the wreck and Wright’s untimely death. “It’s still under investigation. If anyone has any information, they are asked to call us.”

The Highway Patrol in Sampson can be reached at 910-592-3141. The 24-hour Communications number is 910-862-3133.

Reach Managing Editor Chris Berendt at 910-249-4616. Follow the paper on twitter @SampsonInd and like us on Facebook.

By Chris Berendt

Reach Managing Editor Chris Berendt at 910-249-4616. Follow the paper on twitter @SampsonInd and like us on Facebook.

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