NCHP probes fatal wreck

Published 12:00 am Monday, February 25, 2008

AHOSKIE – As law enforcement officials prepare to reconstruct last Thursday’s fatal wreck just outside of Winton, the accident’s lone survivor lies in a Greenville hospital bed fighting for her life.

Zanyiah Jones, three years old, has been in critical condition at Pitt Memorial Hospital since she was airlifted there Thursday afternoon following a collision that killed four other people, including her mother and two younger siblings.

In the meantime, the North Carolina Highway Patrol is trying to figure out exactly what happened.

According to First Sgt. K. P. Pitts (NCHP Troop A District II), a reconstruction team will begin this week at the site of the crash.

&uot;They will take aerial photos and scale drawings using a laser to determine what happened as best as possible,&uot; Pitts told the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald on Monday.

Pitts said that an accident scene reconstruction is not typical of crashes, but given the extreme nature of this accident, one was being done.

&uot;We want to take a closer look at it. I’m concerned also because we’ve had a lot of CMV (Commercial Motor Vehicle) crashes in the last year and a half since I’ve been here and what I’m seeing is that most of the time the truck drivers are not at fault, but we’re also looking at stepping up the enforcement dealing with CMV’s,&uot; he stated.

Pitts added, &uot;We are also trying to make people feel more comfortable with this situation, given the number and nature of the fatalities in this accident.&uot;

The other passengers killed in the collision were Jones’ mother, 21-year-old Trarica Burke of Winton, and her siblings, Zaiveyon Burke and Zamarius Burke

The McDonald’s in Murfreesboro is accepting donations for Jones’ remaining family members.

The wreck occurred at 1:04 p.m. Thursday 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 Burke’s boyfriend, Mckenzie Hart of Woodland (who also died in the collision), apparently crossed the center line into oncoming traffic.

According to Pitts, 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, Burke and their two children (a five-month-old baby and a 22-month-old toddler), were killed instantly.

Jones was the only survivor.