A 25-year-old man was killed early Tuesday morning when the vehicle he was driving crossed the center line and struck a tractor-trailer head on as the two traveled opposite directions on U.S. 13 in northern Sampson County.
The deadly collision occurred at 4:08 a.m. Tuesday, about 200 feet south of Taylors Chapel Road, according to reports from the N.C. Highway Patrol in Sampson County.
Brian Keith Criner, 50, of Vinton, Va., was driving the tractor trailer south on U.S. 13 and Franklin Romero Arnold Jr., 25, of Fayetteville, was traveling the opposite direction in a 2006 Ford SUV (light van) when the Ford reportedly crossed left of center into the path of the tractor trailer, according to reports.
“The tractor trailer swerved left in an unsuccessful attempt to avoid the collision, but they still collided,” said local Highway Patrol spokesperson Tina Byrd, relaying reports from Trooper R.K. Williams, who investigated the fatal collision. After impact, both vehicles crossed the center line and ran off the left side of the roadway, striking a ditch.
Arnold was wearing his seat belt at the time, however the damage to the Ford was immense, the entire front half of the vehicle mangled and caved in on itself. Criner was not injured as a result and there will be no charges brought in the wreck, Highway Patrol officials said. Neither of the men had passengers in their vehicles.
It was not immediately known what caused the Ford to cross the center line into the path of the tractor trailer, or what outside elements may have factored into the collision, with “left of center” being the only reported cause of the wreck.
Tuesday’s deadly collision was the eighth on Sampson County roadways this year, compared to five at this same point last year. There were ultimately 16 deaths on county roads through all of 2017.