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I-85 crash kills local trucker

AULANDER – For the past 12 years, Virgil Harrell has been a regular traveler along I-85.

Employed by Victory Transport of Millennium, Harrell drove an 18-wheeler, delivering products along a route that stretched from Statesville, NC to Salisbury, Maryland.

Shortly before 10 a.m. on Friday, that love of the open road turned tragic as Harrell, 62 of Ahoskie, lost his life in a fiery crash involving three tractor trailers.

The accident occurred on I-85 near Mile Marker 186 just inside the Granville County line south of Butner. Harrell’s rig, as well as one other tractor-trailer, was parked along the southbound shoulder of the interstate.

There, according to North Carolina Highway Patrol reports, Xaujie Warner, 48, of Houston, Texas apparently lost control of her rig and struck the two parked tractor-trailers, causing an explosion.

The report revealed that Harrell was standing outside his rig at the time of the crash.

A passenger in Warner’s truck, Chryss Oko, 40 of Caty, Texas, was also killed.

The crash and ensuing explosion scattered debris across the southbound lanes of I-85, causing it to be closed until late Friday evening.

Warner and the driver of the second parked rig were taken to Duke University Hospital in Durham where they were treated and released.

Warner was charged with two counts of misdemeanor death by motor vehicle and released on a $10,000 bond.