Category Archives: VEHICLE ACCIDENT
Health Director jumps curb at Bojangles, slams into unoccupied pizza truck
GRANTSBORO – Dennis Harrington, director of the Health Department for Pamlico County, avoided serious injury Monday morning, despite a direct hit on a pizza truck, which is part vehicle / part advertising owned by Alfredo Mollano of Little Italy restaurant.
Wednesday morning, 48 hours after the accident, Harrington responded to questions from this newspaper with the following statement:
I am one blessed person for multiple reasons: I did not get hurt other than my feelings; there was not family or bus or any other vehicle
coming toward me that I could have hurt someone (God Forbid) kill. If one had to fall asleep and go across several lanes of traffic into an area – what better than an open field with a large stop near the outer perimeter of the field to stop me from entering another set of roads with all of the above issues as possibilities!
Car can be replaced but people cannot! God is Good and always has a purpose for us that we should take and learn from – obviously
He has other things on this earth for me to do for him! Another blessing is that I was driving a 2009 BMW with all the safety devices that all worked
from the motor dropping down and letting the softer metal absorb the impact to every single air bag deploying as designed! Finally, that dog-gone car even called 911 automatically and reported my location and the fact that a frontal impact accident had occurred!
If I had to capture yesterday in a hymn bringing all of this together it would be: “Showers of Blessing,” which goes like this:
Showers of Blessing we need, Mercy drops round us are falling, but for the showers we plead!
P.S. Oh by the way, I did not receive a ticket!
Harrington, a veteran of the state’s public health system, originally came to Pamlico County as a temporary replacement for the prior director, but was later appointed as the county’s full-time health director. He maintains a home in Raleigh, where he usually spends weekends. The accident occurred on Highway 55 as he returned to the county Monday morning. Those familiar with the accident reported that Harrington’s vehicle suffered extensive damage, and is likely a total loss.
Harrington furnished a statement (shown above) but declined to answer if he might have taken any type of over-the-counter remedy, or prescription drug, that causes sleepiness.
Harrington refuses medical treatment, but vehicle is a total loss
GRANTSBORO – The director of the Pamlico County Health Department experienced a single-car accident Monday morning while driving to work, but refused medical treatment and arranged for transportation to his office in Bayboro.
Dennis Harrington, a veteran of the state’s public health system, originally came to Pamlico County as a temporary replacement for the prior director, but was later appointed as the county’s full-time health director.
Harrington maintains a home in Raleigh, where he usually spends weekends. The accident occurred on Highway 55 as he returned to the county Monday morning. Those familiar with the accident reported that Harrington’s vehicle suffered extensive damage, and is likely a total loss.
Officials with Pamlico County government plan to release a written statement about the accident sometime Monday afternoon.
ARAPAHOE – Veteran bicyclist Charles Fetzer, 75, who lives in Oriental, is resting comfortably at Vidant Hospital in Greenville after being struck late Wednesday afternoon near the intersection of Kershaw Road and Don Lee Road.
Reached Thursday morning at their home, Fetzer’s wife said her husband “is in amazingly good shape considering what might have happened,” adding his injuries are not life-threatening.
The accident occurred shortly after 4 p.m. when Queen H. Hudson, 82, a resident of Don Lee Road, was returning home in a 2005 Ford passenger vehicle – heading east on Kershaw — and turned right, striking Fetzer on his bicycle.
The Pamlico County Rescue Squad transported the injured athlete to the Moose Lodge on Hwy. 55 in Grantsboro, where a medical evacuation helicopter under contract to Vidant Hospital met the ambulance, quickly transporting Fetzer to the trauma center in Greenville.
Fetzer is an accomplished amateur bicyclist. He regularly trains on two-wheeler outings throughout the county. In 2008, he and three local colleagues participated in Cycle North Carolina – a week long trek across the state which began in the mountains, ending in Fetzer’s hometown of Oriental.
By Jeff Aydelette | Staff Writer
GRANTSBORO – An errant motorist, age 23, hit the broad side of a commercial building about 7 p.m. Tuesday, which triggered a response from three volunteer fire departments and at least one ambulance. The impact was no near miss. The car’s front bumper severely bent, but did not pierce, the building’s metal exterior.
The parking lot of Pamlico Pharmacy quickly lit up like a Christmas tree, as a half dozen emergency vehicles converged within minutes following a 911 call that reported the accident. The pharmacy sports a large parking lot and sits well back from Hwy. 55 – the county’s heavily traveled east-west thoroughfare.
According to an early account, the driver, Samuel Tyler Potter, originally claimed to have been ‘clipped’ by a large pickup truck, which he said left the scene of the accident in what would have been a hit-and-run accident.
Law enforcement officers on the scene determined no vehicle-to-vehicle collision had occurred, and Potter appeared unhurt.
The wherefore of a vehicle in a vacant parking lot hitting a large, illuminated structure remained a mystery Tuesday night. Holly Minnifield, a pharmacist who oversees operations of the business, said early Wednesday morning the interior of the building suffered no damage.
However, the outside did not fare as well. Several of the building’s exterior metal panels bore the brunt of impact, heard several hundred yards away by bystanders at Pamlico Square Shopping Center.
Good Samaritans rescue driver of other vehicle
By Jeff Aydelette | Staff Writer
GRANTSBORO – Rain ‘coming down in buckets’ likely prompted a fatal crash Tuesday afternoon.
Authorities said Lena Anderson Perez, 43, traveling south on Hwy. 306, died instantly when she crossed the center line, striking a pickup truck and trailer driven by Francisco Jimenez, 53. Witnesses said the woman’s vehicle might have hydroplaned, or she might have ‘over-corrected’ after running off the road’s right shoulder.
Immediately after the impact, fire erupted from the engine of the 2004 Suzuki driven by Perez, endangering Jimenez, who was trapped in the front seat of his truck, unable to open the driver’s door, pinned shut next to the burning engine of the other car.
Kenny Ross, on his way home from work at Coastal Carolina Regional Airport; and, Mike Fuller, driver of a school bus for Arapahoe Charter School were among the first to come upon the scene of the wreck.
In interviews a day after the accident, both men said that Jimenez was clearly in danger.
“I grabbed a fire extinguisher from the bus,” said Fuller, “and managed to get the fire out for a few seconds, but then it flared right back up.”Meanwhile, Ross, in the pouring rain, rushed to the passenger side of the Jimenez vehicle, but could not get the door open.
“I ran back to my car and got a big stick from the back seat that I just happened to have. I yelled to Francisco to look the other way, and then I busted out the window. By that time, there was major fire coming out from under the hood of the other car, and we really thought everything might explode at any second.”
At that point, both Ross and Fuller – with bare hands – managed to open the door wide enough so that Ross could get inside the front seat, where he ripped out part of the dash and all of the center console in order to free Jimenez.Joe Small III, 19, and another unidentified young man joined Ross and Fuller in quickly pulling Jimenez from the vehicle.
Jimenez, better known as the proprietor of Francisco’s Lawn Care Service, was treated and released at Carolina East Medical Center. Sore and bruised, Jimenez was recovering at his home Wednesday afternoon, and in a thick Mexican accent, expressed his appreciation to the Good Samaritans.
“People need to know that Kenny risked his life, going in there like he did,” said Fuller. “He was the real hero in all of this. Everyone worked together on the rescue. It was a real community effort.”
Special to the County Compass
ORIENTAL — This community has responded to the travails of Robbie Beal and his wife Sandie, after Robbie was seriously injured in a family motorcycle outing earlier this month in Tennessee.
However, friends and associates of the Beals concede the couple continues to face a financial storm cloud.
Robbie, his father Robert, and stepmother Rita almost completed a 3,000-mile cross-country trip on their motorcycles. The accident happened only a few hours from the North Carolina line – in Harriman, Tennessee.
A large truck, swerving recklessly from lane to lane, cut in front of the motorcyclists. The three could do nothing but plow into the back of the large vehicle, as the errant driver quickly left the scene.
Robbie Beal suffered three broken ribs, a punctured lung, and liver damage. Rushed to the University of Tennessee trauma center in Knoxville, he underwent two surgeries and was hospitalized for several days.
The Beals – residents of Oriental for less than a decade – have given unselfishly to neighbors and even casual acquaintances, especially during the aftermath of Hurricane Irene, when they lost their own lodging due to severe flooding.
Respected for his craftsmanship, Robbie is the sole proprietor of Olde South Hardwoods, an installer and refinisher of commercial and residential flooring. Sandy is the proprietor of Academy Street Gardens, and promotes the town’s popular Saturday morning Farmers Market.
Although Robbie is expected to recover, he will be unable to work for several months, resulting in loss of income. And, no medical insurance means the Beals have been hit with thousands of dollars in medical bills.
Donations may be deposited at any First Citizens Bank – just mention the account name:
FRIENDS OF SANDIE AND ROBBIE BEAL. Only the Beals may withdraw funds from this account. For donors who make cash deposits, please ask the teller to put your name on the deposit slip so that Sandie and Robbie will know who to thank.
Late night joy ride killed woman
Special to the County Compass
BAYBORO — District Attorney Scott Thomas announced Wednesday that Joshua Marlon Hardison, 27, of Pamlico County pleaded guilty to Aggravated Felony Death by Vehicle and two counts of Felony Serious Injury by Vehicle.
On the death case, Hardison was sentenced to an active prison term of a minimum five years and a maximum seven years in the North Carolina Department of Correction. On the two injury cases, he was sentenced to two consecutive sentences of a minimum seventeen months and a maximum of thirty months to begin when he is released from prison.
The latter two sentences will be suspended and Hardison will be placed on probation with intensive conditions imposed by the court.
Thomas said Hardison was indicted as the result of a one-vehicle collision, which occurred Jan. 21 of this year at approximately 2 a.m. on Creek Pointe Road near Reelsboro.
Hardison was driving a 1995 Jeep Cherokee at approximately 50 miles per hour on the dirt road when he approached a curve, went off the road, and collided with a tree. Passenger Amber Jones, 24, died as a result of her injuries. Passengers Devan Banks, 14, and Tina Simpson, 40, received serious injuries in the crash. Quincy Jones, 27, Amber’s husband, was also a passenger.
Hardison was identified as the driver and admitted he was driving at the time of the crash. He registered a 0.13 Blood Alcohol Content on the Intoxilyzer.
District Attorney Thomas said, “This is a tragic loss of life that should not have occurred. Hardison chose to drive impaired risking the lives of his family and friends who were passengers. He has pled guilty to the most serious offenses for which he could be charged based upon the facts and law. Under this plea, Hardison will go to prison for five to seven years and still be under court supervision when he is released.”
In a brief statement shortly before he was sentenced, Hardison stood in the courtroom and directed his comments to the deceased woman’s mother.
“I am terribly sorry,” said Hardison. “If there was anything that I could do at this point to change things, I would certainly do so.”
District Attorney Scott Thomas prosecuted the case. Defense attorney Robert McAfee represented Hardison. Superior Court Judge Kenneth Crow accepted the guilty plea and sentenced Hardison pursuant to a plea agreement. The vehicle crash was investigated by the North Carolina State Highway Patrol with the assistance of the Pamlico County Sheriff’s Department.
Head-on collisions narrowly avoided as car speeds away
By Jeff Aydelette | Staff Writer
HIGHWAY 55 – Law enforcement officials are looking for the driver of a “brown, or cream-colored SUV” who forced two vehicles off the road about 1:15 p.m. Wednesday afternoon, continuing west-bound at a high rate of speed.
Both of the wrecked vehicles, a Jeep Liberty and a delivery truck for Boar’s Head Meats, were in the east-bound lane on the outskirts of Oriental, and narrowly avoided the SUV. However, both motorists were temporarily trapped, as their vehicles turned over, luckily avoiding a near-disastrous head-on collision.
“Fortunately nobody hit anybody,” said Frank Telesz, who travels the stretch every Wednesday as a truck driver for the popular brand of deli products.
Telesz, who complained of a backache, was able to exit the sideways truck, but only with an assist from those who responded to the accident. Emergency workers extricated the woman driver of the Jeep, who was quickly transported by ambulance for medical care.
According to N.C. Highway Patrol trooper Scott Casner, the errant motorist suddenly veered into the east-bound lane on the outskirts of Oriental.
“Eyewitnesses really couldn’t give us much more,” said Casner, referring to a dearth of information about the cause of the accident.
“The guy was wiggling back and forth between the lanes,” said Telesz, who was visibly shaken from the wreck. “I don’t know whether he was intentionally zig-zagging, playing a game of chicken, or what?”
Anyone who may have information about the driver of a brown or cream-colored SUV, driving west-bound on Highway 55 early Wednesday afternoon, should call the Pamlico County Sheriff’s Department at 745-3101. Callers need not identify themselves.
Long, dangerous driveway a factor
By Jeff Aydelette | Staff Writer
PAMLICO COUNTY – Creek Pointe Road, a 7.9 mile desolate stretch of unpaved driveway replete with hairpin turns and blind spots, became an irresistible – and deadly – lure in a late Friday / early Saturday drunken driving escapade that killed one woman and seriously injured another.
District Attorney Scott Thomas issued a statement Wednesday afternoon that he intends to charge Joshua Marlon Hardison, 26, with ‘Aggravated Felony Death By Vehicle’ in the tragic accident that killed Amber Louise Jones, 26.
Another woman, Tina R. Simpson, 40, remains in critical condition at Pitt Memorial Hospital in Greenville. Also riding in the 1995 Jeep were Quincy Jones, 27, husband of the deceased woman, and a teenager, Devan Banks, 14, of Bridgeton.
“I met with the investigating State Trooper Wednesday to review the initial findings of the investigation,” wrote Thomas. “Based upon that review, Mr. Hardison will be charged with Aggravated Felony Death by Vehicle. Additional charges may be filed later, pending further investigation of the injuries sustained by the other passengers.”
In a telephone interview Wednesday, Thomas said the accident occurred at approximately 1:30 a.m. on Saturday, Jan. 21. Hardison’s blood alcohol content registered 0.13 on a breath test – well in excess of the standard set for drunken driving in North Carolina.
Thomas added that Hardison had a previous 2009 conviction for drunken driving. Because that incident occurred less than seven years ago, Hardison’s earlier DWI conviction is considered to be an ‘aggravating’ factor in Saturday’s accident, and will likely mean more severe punishment if he pleads guilty, or is convicted.
“This collision was the result of impaired driving and reckless operation of the vehicle,” wrote Thomas. “Once again, we see that impaired driving is a serious offense and can lead to death and serious injury. Our condolences go out to Ms. Jones’s family and we hope the other injured passengers have a full recovery.”
Hardison remains imprisoned at the Pamlico County Jail, with bail set at $ 75,000. His first court appearance is set for Friday, Jan. 27, in Pamlico County District Court.