Suffolk man dies in fiery wreck

Published 4:58 pm Tuesday, April 2, 2013

AHOSKIE – Hertford County’s first motor vehicle fatality of the year was recorded near here Monday afternoon where a Suffolk, VA man lost his life in a fiery accident.

Antonio Gates, 29, reportedly died at the scene when he failed to stop the vehicle he was driving at a stop sign on Hall Siding Road (RP 1409) and struck an 18-wheeler traveling on Saluda Hall Road (RP 1408).

North Carolina Highway Patrol Trooper M. Cerbone investigated the 3 p.m. accident. His investigation revealed that Gates was operating a 2006 Chrysler PT Cruiser, owned by Runell Council of Portsmouth, VA, south on Hall Siding Road.

“Mr. Gates disregarded the stop sign and the vehicle traveled into the intersection where it was struck in the driver’s side door by the tractor-trailer,” Cerbone said.

The 18-wheeler, owned by J&R Trucking of Raleigh and driven by Thomas Eley, 57, of Raleigh, was traveling west on Saluda Hall Road at the time of the crash. After impact, the truck traveled approximately 120 feet and jackknifed in the westbound lane. Fire erupted in the tractor-trailer and completely consumed the rig, but Eley managed to escape. He was treated and released at Vidant Roanoke-Chowan Hospital.

The PT Cruiser overturned on the driver’s side and came to rest in the westbound ditch of Saluda Hall Road following the impact. Ms. Council, a passenger in her vehicle, was pulled to safety by several men who were in the general area at the time of the accident. She was transported to Vidant Roanoke-Chowan Hospital where she was treated and released.

Cerbone said Gates was wearing a seatbelt and was still inside the vehicle when emergency responders arrived. Those responders included Hertford County EMS and Emergency Services, the Highway Patrol, Hertford County Sheriff’s Office, and units from both the Ahoskie (Station 1 and 2) and Winton fire departments.

The road was closed for nearly four hours while the accident scene was cleared of debris.

The fatality was the second of the year in the Highway Patrol’s Troop A/District II area (Bertie, Gates and Hertford counties).

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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