Troopers explore lessons drivers can learn from fatal wreck that closed I-40 in Raleigh

Wake County News

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – A chain reaction of crashes Tuesday on Interstate 40 in Raleigh killed one man, injured three others, and caused the freeway to close for about six hours.

Investigators said the first crash involved a car and a truck. A woman involved in the first crash got out of her car and was standing in the travel lane of the highway when she was clipped by another truck. That caused that truck to flip and catch fire, killing the driver.

“Since I had a friend who was in that situation and got out of her car and was killed, I would tend towards staying in the car,” said Karen Juntilla, of Raleigh.

“I actually got in a crash a while back and I got out of my car but I was on the side so there was some room. No cars were coming on the driver’s side,” said Durham resident Aaron Fuller.

Sgt. Michael Baker with the North Carolina State Highway Patrol said if there are no serious injuries and you are able to move your car, move it to the shoulder. If you can’t move your car, Baker said you should still get out of the car when it’s safe to do so and stand on the shoulder.

“Motorists needs to understand just because they’ve stopped again, that motorist that is coming up behind them that’s driving distracted — looking down at a cell phone, rubbernecking and looking at the crash — they may not see that person standing in the roadway which puts that person in danger,” said Baker.

In the case of Tuesday’s crash, drivers were only going about 10 mph over the speed limit. Baker said anytime your increases, even if it’s marginal, it increases chances for a crash. 

Baker also said patrolling speeding can be a challenge, but not impossible.

“Troopers may go further down the roadway and you have one trooper operating a LIDAR, which can pinpoint individual vehicles that troopers will radio to the troopers who are set up further down the roadway and they will stop that car, always using safety in mind.”

This crash is still under investigation. No charges have been filed yet.

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