Friday wreck claims life

Published 12:00 am Monday, December 1, 2003

AHOSKIE – An Ahoskie teen faces two felony counts following a fatal mishap here late Friday afternoon.

Justin Harrell, 17, was released under a $32,000 bond later on Friday after the 2001 Ford pick-up truck he was operating collided with a farm tractor on the Newsome Grove Road (RP 1419), located between the Ahoskie-Cofield Road and NC 561.

The driver of the John Deere farm tractor, Juan Araujo, 57, of Ahoskie, was killed instantly.

According to North Carolina Highway Patrol Sgt. Tom Griffin, the investigating officer, both Harrell and Araujo were operating their vehicles in the southbound lane at the time of impact – listed as approximately 5:45 p.m.

Apparently, Harrell’s truck, registered to Leslie Harrell of Ahoskie, struck the rear of the tractor, owned by Stuart Pierce of Ahoskie, and pushed it to the left side of the road at which time it overturned in a ditch. Araujo was thrown from the driver’s seat and was killed when the tractor rolled on top of him.

Harrell then allegedly left the scene of the accident. He was found, with his vehicle, a short time later after the truck ran into a ditch on the DT Road.

Sgt. Griffin charged Harrell with felony death by vehicle and felony hit-and-run. Griffin reported that alcohol was involved in the fatal crash.

Deputies with the Hertford County Sheriff’s Office, the Ahoskie Rural Fire Department and Hertford County EMS responded to the scene of the crash.