N.C. 55 fatality under investigation

State troopers are currently investigating two serious accidents that occurred on N.C. Highway 55 during the July Fourth holiday weekend. One incident took the life of a passenger and the other sent five people to the hospital.

The recent crash occurred just before 9:30 p.m. Sunday, near N.C. Highway 242. According to reports, a motorist traveling east crossed the center line and struck a vehicle traveling west and rolled over. The accident claimed the life of male passenger, who was in the vehicle traveling east.

According to officials, alcohol may have played a role in the fatality, since the female driver is suspected to have been impaired. The occupant traveling west was taken to the Betsy Johnson Hospital in Harnett County to receive treatment for non-life injuries. The female motorist was transported to WakeMed in Raleigh.

The names of victim and other motorist have not been officially released.

First Sgt. Timothy Daniels, of the North Carolina Highway Patrol, said the case is still under investigation and charges may be pending. The incident is the ninth fatality of the year. In 2014, there was a total of nine. Daniels stressed the importance of being vigilant, especially when it comes to intoxicated individuals.

“Alcohol and driving don’t mix,” Daniels said. “It’s like a time bomb waiting to go off. We encourage people not to engage in that activity. It’s a serious offense and people are losing their lives to this.”

Daniels said the Highway Patrol is doing our best to catch everyone driving while impaired.

“We’ll continue to be aggressive with impairment laws or any other laws,” Daniels said.

July Fourth Crash

In the other wreck, five people were taken to hospitals with serious injuries after a three-car crash on North Carolina Highway 55 in Sampson County. The incident was the first major accident troopers responded to during the holiday weekend.

It occurred before 10:30 a.m. Saturday, July 4, near Warren Mill Road, just west of Newton Grove. According to emergency officials, a motorist was traveling east on Highway 55 and crossed the center line and struck two vehicles going west.

A total of six people were involved in the accident. Four victims were airlifted to the University of North Carolina Hospital in Chapel Hill. Another was transported in an ambulance to WakeMed Hospital in Raleigh. One person was not hurt.

Sgt. Emory Brown, of the North Carolina Highway Patrol, said the case is under investigation as the victims recover at the hospitals.

“We’re communicating with other troopers up in Orange County assisting us,” Brown said about the accident.

Brown stressed the importance of being safe on the road.

“There’s a lot of traffic this weekend and everybody needs to pay attention to their driving,” he said Saturday evening. “We want everybody to get home and to their destinations safely this weekend.”