Tanker Crash in Eastern North Carolina Kills Two, Spills Jet Fuel

Posted on Aug 22, 2012

Charges have been filed now in the case of a tanker truck driver responsible for a fatal North Carolina highway accident on the afternoon of Monday, July 30.

Investigations are still ongoing into the precise sequence of events that triggered the tragedy.

According to a statement from Sheriff Darryl Liveryman, on the afternoon of July 30 an 18-wheeler tanker truck was passing through Tyrrell County on Highway 84 carrying about 7,500 gallons of jet fuel. A passenger car traveling north on the highway around 4:20 p.m. went off the right side of the road. The driver then overcorrected and turned sharply left, crossing the centerline to collide with the tanker truck heading south.

The tanker truck flipped over in the middle of Highway 94 and began to leak jet fuel. Hazardous material handling teams closed Highway 94 from South Riders Creek to Levels Road overnight, and the occupants of one nearby house were evacuated from the area due to fire danger.

The tractor-trailer driver, Jack Harrell of Roanoke Rapids, suffered minor injuries. He was treated and released Monday night.

The four people in the Nissan automobile, all Elizabeth City residents, were not so lucky. The car had been struck broadside by the tanker truck. The two passengers occupying the rear seat of the car were dead at the scene, and the two occupants of the front seat sustained serious injuries. Paramedics took them to Vidant Medical Center in Greenville.

On Tuesday, the Highway Patrol identified the passengers killed in the collision as Kevin Grubbs, age 31, and Calvin Perkins, 36. Those injured were James Jordan and Kelby Grubbs—the driver, and brother to the deceased Kevin Grubbs.

Troopers investigating the accident believe that 26-year-old Kelby Grubbs may have fallen asleep at the wheel, precipitating the accident. He has been charged with two counts of misdemeanor death by motor vehicle.

The staff and attorneys at Speaks Law Firm tender our sympathies to the family and friends of the men killed in this highway accident, and we hope the injured men will have a speedy and complete recovery.

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R. Clarke Speaks
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Trial Lawyer and Founder of Speaks Law Firm, P.C.