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Records show 20 traffic deaths in 2017

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A Fire-Rescue worker directs an ambulance after a pedestrian was hit and killed near the intersection of Dickinson Avenue and Frog Level Road on Dec. 21, 2017. (Molly Mathis/The Daily Reflector)


Bobby Burns and Tyler Stocks
The Daily Reflector

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Twenty people were killed in traffic-related deaths in Pitt County in 2017, down just one from 2016 and six from 2015, according to law enforcement reports.

Eight of the deaths occurred in the city limits of Greenville. Five occurred near the city limits and seven occurred in rural Pitt County.

Three pedestrians were killed, including a woman crossing Stantonsburg Road near Vidant Medical Center, a man crossing Arlington Boulevard and a construction worker crossing Dickinson Avenue Extension.

One child was among the 20 killed; the others were adults. One of the wrecks, a two-car crash near Fountain, killed two men.

The toll was down from at least 21 people killed in 2016 and 27 in 2015, when nine pedestrians were killed.

Sixteen people were killed in the county in 2014, the fewest in recent memory. There were no fatal wrecks in Greenville’s city limits that year.

The 2015 toll was the highest since 2007, when a record 30 people were killed, according to records kept by The Daily Reflector. Twenty-six were killed in 2008 and the number declined in subsequent years to an average of about 20.

Pitt consistently has ranked among North Carolina’s most dangerous counties for car collisions in an annual list compiled by AAA Carolinas Motor Club.

Authorities said speed and distracted driving seem to contribute to many of the crashes.

“Speed seems to be a common factor,” State Highway Patrol Trooper Doug Coley said. “If we could get people to slow down, that would go a long way.”

Coley added, “Pay attention when driving and be sure passengers are not distracting the driver.”

The following details about last year’s fatal wrecks are from crash reports and information gathered at the time:

■ A construction worker who was part of a crew installing a drainage line under Dickinson Avenue Extension died after a car hit him near Frog Level Road on Thursday, Dec. 21. Narciso Carrasa, 45, of 1806 Hop Tyson Road, was crossing from a work site on the south side of Dickinson to the north side when he was struck in the eastbound passing lane by a Buick driven by Samuel Waller, 25, of Farmville. The vehicle was traveling about 55 mph in a 50 mph zone. No charges were filed. The State Highway Patrol investigated.

■ A Grifton man was killed Sunday, Dec. 17, in a one-vehicle wreck in southern Pitt County. Caleb Barnes, 50, was ejected from his 2004 Honda when he lost control about 12:17 a.m. The wreck happened on Hanrahan Road near Grifton. Barnes was trapped in the wreckage and was pronounced dead at 12:50 a.m. Officials said alcohol was a factor in the crash. Barnes was not wearing a seat belt. The State Highway Patrol investigated.

■ A Greenville mother was killed Wednesday, Nov. 15, in a two-car wreck on Frog Level Road. Alice Breanna Malone, 33, was attempting to turn left from Masters Lane onto Frog Level about 5:17 p.m. A northbound Jeep driven by Travis Bolen, 38, of Greenville hit the driver’s side of Malone’s 2004 Toyota at 40 mph. Malone was pronounced dead at the scene. Malone was the mother of two children, ages 2 and 4. The Greenville Police Department investigated.

■ A woman was killed Monday, Nov. 13, on N.C. 43 and her son was seriously injured in a head-on crash about 7:55 a.m. six miles south of Greenville. Martika Donigan, 25, of Greenville was driving a 2013 Hyundai south on the highway when it ran off the right shoulder of the road. Donigan over corrected and crossed into the northbound lane, crashing head-on into a 2007 GMC Envoy driven by Rayshaun Tyson, 33, also of Greenville. Decadyen Donigan, 4, was in a child safety seat in the rear seat. The State Highway Patrol investigated.

■ A Colerain woman was killed on Monday, Oct. 23, in a two-vehicle wreck on Memorial Drive in Greenville. Carolyn Taylor Brown, 73, was driving a Dodge minivan south shortly after 2:30 p.m. Brown failed to stop for a red light the intersection with Regency Boulevard. A Honda Accord driven westbound on Regency by 50-year-old Develon Ray Jacobs of Winterville crashed into the driver’s side door of the van, spinning it around and knocking it over on its passenger side. Brown and her passenger, Danise Taylor Harrell, 78, also of Colerain, were transported to Vidant Medical Center. The Greenville Police Department investigated.

■ A 63-year-old Farmville woman was killed Friday, Oct. 6, after her SUV and trailer ran off Stantonsburg Road west of Greenville about 6 a.m. Audry Simpson was rounding a sharp left curve at 45 mph when her vehicle ran off the road to the right and collided with a ditch. The vehicle continued across a yard, collided with a second ditch, overturned and collided with two trees before coming to a rest. The State Highway Patrol investigated.

■ An 81-year-old Grifton man was killed in Wednesday, Oct. 4, on N.C. 102 near Ayden. Linwood Artis was traveling west about 2:45 p.m. when his 2012 Buick crossed the centerline, ran off the road to the left and struck a driveway barrier at 55 mph. His vehicle then struck a ditch before coming to a rest. His passenger was not seriously injured. The State Highway Patrol investigated

■ A Greenville man died from injuries suffered on Oct. 3 when he was hit by a car on Arlington Boulevard. Calvin Wilson, age not available, stepped in front of a 2007 Toyota pickup driven by Frank Rabey of Winterville about 8:30 p.m. Rabey was slowing to turn right onto Bradford Drive and did not see Wilson, who was wearing dark clothing. The truck was traveling about 35 mph at impact. Wilson died from health issues aggravated by his injuries on Oct. 28. The Greenville Police Department Investigated.

■ A 26-year-old Greenville woman died Thursday, Sept. 28, after she ran off the road and overturned on U.S. 264 east of Greenville. Shamika Edwards, 1645 Stevens St., was driving east on U.S. 264 near Sunnyside Road. About 6:40 a.m. her car ran off the right side of the road. Edwards steered the vehicle back on the road, lost control and ran back off the right side of the road again. The 2007 Honda hit a ditch and rolled over several times before landing in a field. Edwards was thrown from the vehicle. The State Highway Patrol investigated.

■ Two men were killed about 1 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 16, when their vehicles collided on U.S. 258 near Fountain. Pedro San Juan De Jesus, 24, of Wilson was traveling south when his 2003 Kia crossed the center line and struck a 2010 Toyota vehicle driven by Jeffrey Glenn Long, 54, of Fountain. The Kia was travelling 60 mph and the Toyota 50 mph at impact. Both men died at the scene. De Jesus did not have insurance, and alcohol was a factor in his driving. The State Highway Patrol Investigated

■ A 59-year-old Robersonville woman was killed about 4:25 p.m. on Tuesday, July 11, in a head-on collision on N.C. 903 north of Greenville. Maria Margarita Castro was driving north near the Martin County line in a 2006 Toyota. A 2018 Jeep driven south by Aaron Cutler, 20, of Blounts Creek, crossed the center line and crashed into Castro’s vehicle, which was knocked off the road and turned over in a ditch. She died at the scene. Her car was traveling about 55 mph and Cutler’s about 50 mph. He was charged with with misdemeanor death by vehicle. The State Highway Patrol investigated.

■ A Pactolus Elementary School third-grader died from injuries suffered in a head-on wreck on Mumford Road north of Greenville about 1:20 p.m. Saturday, May 20. Rana Davia Purvis was a front seat passenger in 2008 Chevrolet Impala driven by her mother, 33-year-old Cherita Harris of Pam Drive. Harris was westbound on Mumford when a 2013 GMC Sierra driven east by John Radford, 67, of Greenville veered into her lane to avoid a vehicle that had slowed in front of him. Radford and Harris both were traveling 45 mph. Purvis died the next day. Radford was charge with misdemeanor death by vehicle. The State Highway Patrol investigated.

■ A 75-year-old man and his dog were killed about 7 p.m. on Tuesday, April 25, when a small passenger bus pulled in front of him on Greenville Boulevard near Rollins Drive. Ralph Harlon Fisher, 75, of Bells Fork Road was driving west on the highway when the bus driven by Albert Dixon Jr., 72, of Farmville turned west on on the road from Rollins. Harris applied his brakes and skidded and swerved. The driver’s side of his mustang hit the back of the bus. Speed was a factor as he was going 68 mph in the 45 mph zone. Harris and his Chihuahua were killed at the scene. Rollins was charged with misdemeanor death by vehicle.

■ A 94-year-old Winterville man was killed about 9 a.m. on Saturday, April 15, at an intersection of Corey and Worthington roads south of Greenville. Rueben Murray Lord, 94, of 118 Squire Drive, driving a 2013 Toyota, attempted to make a left turn onto Worthington in front of a 1994 Chevrolet van driven west on Worthington by Holle Whipke of Greenville. The Chevrolet hit the driver’s side of the Toyota at 50 mph. Whipke suffered injuries. The State Highway Patrol investigated.

■ A 48-year-old Grifton man was killed Monday, April 10, on N.C. 11 near Grifton. Jesse Ray Strong, 5874 Gilbert School Road, was the passenger in a 2016 Chevrolet pickup driven by Christopher Hurdle of Williamston about 9:40 p.m. Hurdle was driving north toward Ernest Taylor Road when he slowed down. Anthony O’Neal King of Grifton was following Hurdle in a 1987 Ford and failed to reduce his speed. The Ford hit a trailer pulled by Hurdle and caused him to lose control. The truck flipped on it passenger side killing Strong. King was traveling at 55 mph and Hurdle was going 35 mph. King was charged with misdemeanor death by vehicle. The State Highway Patrol investigated.

■ A 55-year-old Greenville man was killed about 6:20 a.m. on Wednesday, April 5, in a head-on collision on Barrus Construction Road not far from his home. Bruce Thomas Carr, 716 Birchwood Drive, was driving a Honda Accord south on the road when he crossed the center line and collided with a northbound Toyota Camry driven by Melina Canseco-Hernandez. Canseco-Hernandez suffered injuries. Carr was not wearing a seat belt. His estimated speed at impact was 45 mph in the 55 mph zone, and the speed of the Camry was 40 mph. The State Highway Patrol investigated the wreck

■ A Greenville man died from injuries suffered Tuesday, Jan. 3, in a wreck on Arlington Boulevard at Smythewick Drive. Michael Silver, age not available, was a front seat passenger in a 1993 Plymouth driven by Mary Lynch of Greenville. Lynch was crossing Arlington from an access road to Smythewick when she drove in front of a northbound Cadillac driving David Earl Moore Jr. of Grimesland. The Cadillac hit the passenger side of the Plymouth at 35 mph. Silver died from injures on Feb. 7. No charges were filed. The Greenville Police Department investigated.

■ A 51-year-old Windsor woman was killed about 7:45 p.m. Monday, Jan. 2, near the Quality Inn on South Memorial Drive. Meta Bridgett Gilliam was a passenger in a 1997 Toyota driven by 58-year-old Arcelious Eugene Valentine of Rich Square. Valentine was attempting cross seven lanes of traffic from a business on the west side Memorial to a business on the east side of the highway. A 2007 Mercedes Benz driven by 23-year-old Daniel Corey McLawhorn of Ayden was traveling north on Memorial and hit the Toyota in the passenger’s side at 50 mph in the 45 mph zone. McLawhorn, his passenger, Antonio Demetrius Brown, 21, of Greenville and Valentine suffered injuries. Valentine was charged with misdemeanor death by vehicle. The Greenville Police Department investigated the wreck.

■ A 52-year-old Battleboro woman was killed about 9 p.m. on Sunday, Jan. 1, as she was trying to cross Stantonsburg Road on foot near Vidant Medical Center. Mary Price was crossing from the south side to the the north side of the road near the KFC. Justin Jamar Knight of Greenville was traveling east in a 2007 Lincoln. Knight glanced down to change the radio station, and when he looked up, a woman was standing in the roadway. Jarad Tyrone Pitts, a rear-seat passenger, said he saw the pedestrian casually crossing the street as if she didn’t see the car coming. Low lighting and not crossing within a crosswalk were factors. Knight was traveling 40 mph in a 45 mph zone. No charges were filed. The Greenville Police Department investigated.