NCHP: Medical issue led to head-on tractor-trailer wreck

By Chris Berendt - [email protected]

A woman whose vehicle crossed the centerline on U.S. 421 and collided head-on with an 18-wheeler Tuesday is in stable condition at UNC Hospitals in Chapel Hill after reportedly suffering a medical episode and losing consciousness at the wheel, according to reports from the N.C. Highway Patrol in Sampson.

The collision occurred at 4:04 p.m., just north of Byrd Yancey Bass Road.

According to reports from Highway Patrol Sgt. S.F. Cotton, the head-on wreck occurred when a 2011 Hyundai being driven by Adrean Ezzell, 28, of Taylors Bridge Highway, Clinton, crossed the centerline and struck a tractor-trailer being operated by Channon Hall, 24, of Seven Springs. The 1994 Peterbilt 18-wheeler is owned by Knowles Farm Service of Mount Olive, and was not transporting any materials at the time, Cotton noted.

Neither of the drivers had passengers with them. Both were wearing seat belts and there were no indications of any alcohol or drug use, high speed, inattentiveness or other factors that contributed to the Hyundai traveling left of the centerline. Cotton said it is believed Ezzell was unconscious due to an existing medical condition, details of which were not disclosed.

“She crossed left of center and struck him head on,” said Cotton, who investigated the wreck and said Wednesday that probe is ongoing. “At this moment, due to investigation and some family members, we believe it might be due to a medical condition.”

The sergeant said Ezzell was quickly transported to Sampson Regional Medical Center, where a helicopter airlifted her to Chapel Hill. Cotton said the 28-year-old woman had serious injuries — the extent of which were not immediately known — but was listed as stable at the hospital. Hall was not “physically injured,” the sergeant said, while noting the harrowing details of the wreck that left the Hyundai mangled and the front of the 18-wheeler crumpled.

“We don’t think it was any carelessness on her part,” Cotton stated. “We think she had an underlying medical condition that caused her to lose consciousness. It is still under investigation.”

Roseboro Highway wreck

A Cintas employee has been charged following a wreck on Roseboro Highway Monday evening, in which Highway Patrol reports state she rear-ended another vehicle that had slowed for traffic.

The collision occurred at 6:26 p.m. Monday, just west of Mitchell Loop Road in the area of the Sampson County Landfill entrance.

Sgt. Cotton said a 2004 Chevy pickup driven by David Byrd, 47, of Clinton, was slowing down for traffic when a Cintas truck being operated by Brittany Gautier, 27, of Garland, struck him from behind. Both were traveling east on Roseboro (N.C. 24) in the area of the turn lane into the landfill.

“Byrd slowed down for traffic and Gautier failed to reduce speed, striking him and causing the truck to hit a ditch and overturn,” Cotton stated, relaying reports. The pickup was traveling about 10 mph at the time, while the Cintas truck had an estimated speed of 35 mph at impact. The posted speed limit in the area is 55 mph.

“Both were examined at the scene and released,” said Cotton.

Gautier was charged with failure to reduce speed.

Reach Managing Editor Chris Berendt at 910-249-4616. Follow the paper on twitter @SampsonInd and like us on Facebook.

By Chris Berendt

[email protected]

Reach Managing Editor Chris Berendt at 910-249-4616. Follow the paper on twitter @SampsonInd and like us on Facebook.


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