Log truck crashes in downtown Jackson

Published 3:49 pm Thursday, March 14, 2024

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JACKSON – “It’s a mess.”

That’s the overall consensus of emergency responders and town citizens here this Thursday morning after a log truck caused significant damage, to include destroying the popular Embassy Café, in the heart of downtown Jackson.

The log truck came to rest near the front lawn of the Northampton County Courthouse. The Embassy Café awning is in the truck’s trailer. Staff Photo by Cal Bryant

Northampton County Emergency Management Director Tony Burnette said five people, to include the truck driver and those inside the cafe, were injured in the accident, which occurred after 9 a.m. The extent of the injuries was not immediately known.

“The log truck, traveling east, somehow lost control and came across the street, striking several buildings and causing a lot of damage,” Burnette said. “The truck initially struck a vehicle that was parked in front of the Bay Sire [restaurant] and then continued up the sidewalk, wiping out the entire front of the Embassy [Cafe] and damaging other buildings before coming to rest near the front lawn of the courthouse.”

Burnette added that the truck also struck a fire hydrant, resulting a major water leak.

“The water to the town is out right now,” Burnette said. “We sent out an alert to the residents. The town is waiting on a part to arrive to fix the water leak. The town is hopeful that part will arrive sometimes Thursday afternoon.”

Electrical power was cut off to the buildings impacted by the accident.

“Other than the severe damage to the café, we are uncertain of what damage there is in the other buildings on that side of the street,” Burnette stated. “We’ve asked the property owners not to go into the buildings until we can perform a structural assessment.”

The barber shop, located two doors down from the Embassy Café, suffered damage in the accident. Staff Photo by Cal Bryant

Just prior to coming to a stop, the truck lost its driveshaft, which was nearly completely buried in the dirt under the sidewalk.

There were several eyewitnesses to the accident.

Antonio Scott was in his barbershop, located two doors down from the Embassy Café.

“I heard a loud boom. Then I saw the trailer part of the truck pass by my window and the glass began to shatter,” said Scott, who was not injured along with a customer in his shop. “Then there was a big cloud of dust. It all happened so fast. The whole building shook. I just froze in place.”

The truck tore off the awning of Scott’s building as well as breaking the barber pole attached adjacent to the front door.

Jerry Colson and his wife were inside Jentry White’s (CPA) office waiting to get their income taxes done when the accident occurred.

“When I first heard it [crash] I thought to myself what in the world is a train coming down the street here in Jackson,” Colson said. “That’s what it sounded like. I glanced out the window and caught a brief glimpse of the front end of the truck, but after that I couldn’t see anything but smoke. I’m just glad there weren’t any logs on the trailer.”

The log truck’s drivetrain broke off during the accident and buried itself in the dirt below the sidewalk. Staff Photo by Cal Bryant

Colson’s pick up truck, which was parked in front of White’s business, suffered damage.

Ned Clark, a pharmacist at Futrell’s Pharmacy located directly across the street from the Embassy Café, had an unobstructed view of the accident as it unfolded.

“We had a front row seat. We heard a big boom and saw the truck flash by as it wiped out the front of the Embassy,” Clark said, adding that the truck was moving “at a pretty good clip.”

The cause of the accident is under investigation by the North Carolina State Highway Patrol.

Burnette expressed his appreciation to all of the emergency responders at the scene, to include the Jackson Fire Department, Jackson Police, Northampton Sheriff’s Office, Northampton EMS, NC Forest Service, Highway Patrol, and the North Carolina Department of Transportation.

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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