Four die in Thursday wreck

Published 12:00 am Friday, February 22, 2008

WINTON – A horrific motor vehicle accident left four people, two adults and two small children, dead and one other child critically injured near here Thursday afternoon.

The wreck occurred at 1:04 p.m. on US 158, approximately 3.1 miles west of Winton.

A 2001 Western Star tractor-trailer log truck driven by Kris Marlow Outlaw of Windsor was traveling west on 158 while the other vehicle involved, a 1992 Ford Tempo passenger car, was headed east.

The car, driven by Mckenzie Hart, 19, of Woodland, apparently crossed the center line into oncoming traffic.

According to First Sergeant K.P. Pitts with the North Carolina Highway Patrol (Troop A District II), the driver of the tractor-trailer then attempted to drive to the right shoulder to avoid collision.

However, Hart’s vehicle struck the fully loaded log truck head on in the westbound lane of US 158.

Hart and three of his passengers, his girlfriend and two children, were killed instantly.

Pitts added, &uot;Some family members speculated that (Hart) had worked all night and had possibly not been to sleep so he may have been overly tired.&uot;

The deceased passengers were 21-year-old Trarica Burke of Winton and the children Hart shared with her, Zaiveyon Burke (22 months old), and Zamarius Burke (5 months old).

The surviving child, three-year-old Zanyiah Jones, Burke’s child from a previous relationship, was airlifted to Pitt Memorial Hospital in Greenville where she is listed in critical condition in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit.

Jones was not restrained in a car seat, as were the other two children, and Pitts speculated being thrown to the floor likely protected her in a fluke occurrence.

&uot;She was thrown into the floor upon collision and it probably broke the impact a bit for her,&uot; he stated.

The baby was secured in a rear-facing infant seat while the older toddler was placed in a forward-facing booster seat.

Both Hart and Burke were wearing seatbelts, but they were no protection against the much larger vehicle.

&uot;The truck just drove across the car from the left, demolishing it,&uot; Pitts stated.

After the collision, the truck, owned by S&K Logging of Windsor, ran off the road to the right and came to rest in the trees.

It took emergency response crews over six hours to clear the accident scene. Even then, the log truck, after having its timber transferred to another truck, briefly caught fire as it was being moved from the woods.

Hertford County Emergency Management Director Charles Jones said US 158 was reopened at 7:30 p.m. to thru traffic. Prior to that time, traffic was detoured around the accident scene by using Mt. Moriah Road and Mt. Tabor Church Road.

The Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald will have more information on the condition of the surviving child as it becomes available.