A complex North Carolina truck accident on the evening of Wednesday, May 9, injured three drivers—one fatally—and closed a major traffic artery overnight.
The incident happened just before 10:00 p.m. about a mile south of the I-95/U.S. 64 interchange in Rocky Mount, North Carolina. The collision involved three tractor-trailers. Investigators report that one of the rigs, traveling south on I-95, crossed the median and hit the other two vehicles, which were northbound.
One of the vehicles, a tanker truck carrying about six thousand gallons of used cooking oil, caught fire. The fire, fed by spilled diesel fuel, then spread to both of the other rigs. Fire crews battled the resulting blaze for about an hour.
Interstate 95 was closed in both directions after the accident. One northbound lane reopened around 7:30 a.m. Thursday, and the highway was finally cleared for traffic about 13 hours after the accident. Signs have been placed along the highway telling motorists to drive cautiously through the area because of damage to the road surface.
The three drivers of the trucks were taken to hospitals. Corporal Michael Lewis of the Rocky Mount Police told reporters that John Michael Jenkins, a resident of Rincon, Georgia, died Thursday morning at the Jaycee Burn Center at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill. Lewis said that driver Jerome Kinsey, from Orlando, Florida, is at Greenville’s Vidant Medical Center, where his condition is listed as critical. According to Lewis, the third driver, Lacy Downing of Winston-Salem, was released from Nash General Hospital after treatment for minor injuries.
On Monday, May 14, Mr. Kinsey’s condition was upgraded to fair.
On Tuesday, May 15, Rocky Mount police charged Jerome Kinsey, for misdemeanor death by a motor vehicle and crossing the median on a controlled-access highway. Kinsey is scheduled to appear in District Court in August to respond to the charges.
The staff and attorneys at Speaks Law Firm express our deepest condolences to the family and friends of Mr. Jenkins. We hope the other two drivers will see a swift and full recovery from their injuries.