Durham police searching for man accused of killing woman in hit-and-run on US 15-501

Durham County News

DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) — Durham police are searching for a man they say hit and killed a 30-year-old woman who was checking out her broken-down SUV on U.S. 15-501 last month.

Danielle Noel, of Durham, was standing behind her 2000 Chevrolet Blazer after her vehicle “had experienced some type of mechanical failure” when she was struck by a 1998 maroon Honda Accord and killed, police said.

According to authorities, Noel stopped her Blazer in the right travel lane of northbound U.S. 15-501 near Cornwallis Road and had her hazard lights activated at the time of the collision.

The investigation so far reveals that Noel was behind her SUV when the driver of the Accord slammed into her, pinning her between her own vehicle and the sedan. She was pronounced dead at the scene.

The driver of the Accord fled the scene.

Durham police have identified the driver as 31-year-old Martir Maldonado, of Durham.

Maldonado is wanted on one count of felony hit-and-run involving serious injury or death and one count of failure to reduce speed to avoid a collision.

According to Durham County search warrants that were filed against Maldonado on charges of felony hit-and-run and driving while impaired, he failed to brake before crushing Noel between the front of his vehicle and the back of hers.

“There were no signs of braking on the part of the Honda Accord prior to impact. Roadway evidence showed that post-crash, the front right tire of the Accord appears to have gone flat and began leaving a long tire skid until the vehicle came to rest,” the warrant says.

The warrant goes on to say that the smell of alcohol was coming from the driver’s area of the vehicle. Someone in the vehicle ran from the crash and couldn’t be tracked by K-9 units, the warrant says.

The next day, on Oct. 1, a woman went to police and told them she was a passenger in the vehicle, according to the warrant. The woman had injuries “consistent with being in the passenger seat of a vehicle during a crash and having been wearing a seatbelt.”

On Oct. 2, the owner of the Honda Accord filed a missing person report saying “his brother was missing since [Oct. 1] and that he was seen drinking and operating the listed Honda Accord on the night of the crash. He identified his missing brother as Martir Oney Maldonado Moreno.”

The warrant says all of the evidence found at the scene “indicates that the Honda was traveling north on U.S. 15/501 Highway and struck the pedestrian with the front right portion of the vehicle. Apparent human remains were seen on the damaged front end of the Honda and underneath the vehicle it struck, indicating that [Noel] was in between the two vehicles at the time of the crash.”

Anyone with information on Maldonado’s whereabouts is asked to call Investigator Munter at (919) 560-4935, ext. 29448, or CrimeStoppers at (919) 683-1200. CrimeStoppers pays cash rewards for information leading to arrests in felony cases and callers never have to identify themselves.

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