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Fatal Friday

From a religious standpoint, April 14 was Good Friday. However, it was a bad day based on the loss of life on Roanoke-Chowan area roadways.

Two drivers died in separate motor vehicle accidents on Friday, bringing the death toll to six for the year in the local area.

The first fatal accident occurred Friday afternoon on NC 11 in Hertford County, four-tenths of one mile north of Hollowell Road near Millennium.

There, Kenneth Vance, 37, of Newport News, VA was killed when his vehicle was struck nearly head-on by an 18-wheeler.

According to North Carolina Highway Patrol Trooper K.R. Genao, Vance is believed to be the motorist for which several calls were made by the motoring public in regards to his alleged reckless driving.

Genao said one call was made to Gates County 9-1-1 Dispatch after 2 p.m. in reference to a Dodge Durango operating recklessly.

“Based on the direction of travel, Gates County (Dispatch) contacted Hertford County (Central Communications) at 2:28 p.m. regarding this driver,” Trooper Genao told the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald. “When calls of that nature come in, an officer is made aware of a possible reckless driver coming into their jurisdiction from a certain area, but there are other routes and directions that the motorist may choose to travel.”

Genao added that Hertford County deputies attempted to locate the possible reckless motorist, but without luck.

“Then the call comes in at 2:49 p.m. concerning the accident on NC 11 and the description of one of the vehicles involved matched the description of the vehicle that Gates County (Dispatch) was made aware of earlier,” the Trooper stated.

The accident occurred when Vance’s vehicle (a 1999 model Durango), traveling south on NC 11 in the northbound lane, was impacted in the front left quarter panel by a 2006 Freightliner tractor-trailer, headed north at the time. That 18-wheeler was owned and operated by 61-year-old Charles Tucker of Portsmouth, VA.

“In his statement, Mr. Tucker said the driver of the Dodge attempted to steer back into the southbound lane, but that maneuver came too late to avoid impact,” Trooper Genao reported.

Genao added that despite the fact that Vance was wearing a seat belt, the impact of the collision was so forceful that he was ejected from his vehicle, as did the driver’s seat.

Tucker suffered non-life threatening injures and was transported to Vidant Roanoke-Chowan Hospital in Ahoskie.

The debris and motor vehicle fluid leaks caused by the violent impact forced the closure of NC 11 for four hours.

Traffic control was handled by members and units from the Millennium Volunteer Fire Department and the Hertford County Sheriff’s Office.

Genao said the NC Department of Transportation was also summoned to the accident scene to assist with clean-up and the eventual re-opening of the highway.

The fatality was the fourth of the year in Hertford County.

A few hours later in Bertie County, a fatal wreck occurred, reportedly on Askewville Road. The NC Highway Patrol’s report on that deadly crash was not available as of Monday night’s presstime for today’s edition.

It is known that fatal accident was the second in Bertie County this year.

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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