Trucker dies in I-95 wreck

Published 10:02 am Thursday, October 8, 2009

GASTON — The driver of a vehicle where a motorcycle dislodged from its trailer was charged with failure to maintain lane control and failure to properly secure load, the State Highway Patrol said.

The motorcycle landed in the highway and was struck by a truck driver, who died three hours following the collision on Saturday.

Highway Patrol Sgt. W.C. Johnson of District 8 Troop C said it appears impact with the guardrail caused the motorcycle to dislodge when Lonnie Graham of Society Hill, S.C., ran off the road in the southbound lane of Interstate 95 near Gaston.

There was some indication while the motorcycle appeared to be strapped to the trailer, it might not have been properly rated. It is unclear whether properly rated straps would have kept the motorcycle from dislodging following impact with the guardrail, Johnson said.

Johnson said Graham may have been fatigued when the 1:30 a.m. collision occurred Saturday but there was no proof he fell asleep.

Willie Beale Jr. ran over the motorcycle and the cab of his rig burst into flames. Beale, 53, of Colonial Heights, Va., was pulled from the cab but died three hours later from injuries sustained in the collision.

He suffered extensive internal injuries and broke two vertebrae in his neck.

The collision remains under investigation.

Lance Martin is editor and publisher of The RR Spin. This story is reprinted with his permission.