NEW INFO: DOT Worker Killed, Trucker Charged After I-40 Crash

A state Department of Transportation worker has been killed and another injured in a traffic accident on I-40 in Duplin County.

The DOT says the accident happened around 8:00 a.m. near Warsaw at milepost 364. The westbound lanes of I-40 were shut down because of the crash, but reopened around 12:45 p.m..

Killed was Jonathan King of Autryville, that's in Sampson County. The Highway Patrol says he and another worker were setting up a portable sign at the construction zone. Troopers say the 21-year-old King had gotten out of his truck and unhooking trailer when an 18 wheeler struck the DOT vehicle.

The driver, Ernest Harris from St. Pauls, told troopers that he took his eyes off road and his tractor trailer went off road and struck the DOT trailer. King was immediately killed, while another DOT worker, Bradley Williams, and the tractor trailer driver were taken to Sampson Memorial Hospital for minor injuries.

Trooper say they're going to charge the 47-year-old Harris with reckless driving, failing to maintain lane control, failure to reduce speed, and misdemeanor death by vehicle.

This is the first DOT worker killed in a construction zone since October 2008.


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  • by WS on Jun 6, 2010 at 02:58 PM
    A relative of the deceased just told me about this horrible accident. I extend my utmost sympathy to his young wife and grieving family. All deaths bring sorrow to the loved ones but the sudden, accidental death of a young person just beginning his life is especially horrific. I hope the family finds comfort in one another and in God. My heart also goes out to the truck driver. I know that there have been times when I didn't pay full attention at the wheel: changing a radio station or the a/c,looking at something in the landscape that caught my eye, etc.Any law that the government proposes to minimize risk for DOT workers and the general public has my vote. God bless all affected by this terrible tragedy.
  • by jh Location: Sampson County on Jun 3, 2010 at 08:30 PM
    To all that have writen to the faimly of Johnathan King...We appreciate your thoughts and concerns. Johnathan was an outgoing and loveing young man, who loved God, his family, and his job. As his paster I would like to say that I know Johnnie is gone to be with the Lord. He knew the Lord Jesus Christ as his saviour, and was not ashamed of that fact, he touched many lives and will be greatly missed by all that knew him. Thank you for all the prayers and concerns.
  • by MrT Location: LaNC on Jun 3, 2010 at 12:46 PM
    "Let em work, Let em live". That is in South Carolina.
  • by shelia Location: newton grove on Jun 3, 2010 at 10:10 AM
    this young man, was 21 years old he had a wife of 2 years and had just started his life. His family is very hurt over the loss of jonanthan and his loss will be felt forever with his family. Don't take your eyes off the road don't text. It only takes a second to change everyone lives forever. It has this family.
  • by anon Location: wallace on Jun 3, 2010 at 08:43 AM
    i have always said acidents do not happen,they are caused.they are not mistakes.it is ignornace.you do not take your eyes off the road.quit muti tasking while driving.especialy in a big rig.i see people all the time just blowing right by these workers because they think they have somewhere to be in little time.they have no respect for the workers emergency or d.o.t on the side of the road.how would they like it if a big yellow dump truck come crashing through their living room.the state law makers need to come down strict on the rights of state workers and other stopped vehicles on the road that are tending to business of the state or local government.it should be a felony to hit and/or kill a government worker tending to government business on the side of the road and loss of drivers license for 5 years and mandatory 5 years in prison.no exceptions.!say this punishment doesn't fit the crime,well then stand in the face of this workers family and the others and tell them.they lost a son!
  • by Native Location: Grantsboro on Jun 3, 2010 at 07:02 AM
    Bad situation all the way around. God bless the family of the DOT worker. I saw a sign in in another state one time that said "Let em work, Let em live". It was not a Super restrictive LAW that would execute you if you were driving too fast in a work zone but a simple thought that has stuck with me for 5 years now. God bless the family! AND God bless the truck driver and his family. No it shouldn't have happend but it can happen to ANY OF US at any time. No matter how much we harp about what he should and should not have been doing we have all had times that we were distracted and it is by the Grace of God that we have not done the same thing. God bless you too truck driver. And one last thought, B is right, what about the State Trooper. I hate it for him too but 100 mph is reckless endangerment no matter who you are, blue lights or not!! Not heard a single word from that wreck. This trucker was charged before he could even leave the hospital.
  • by LEO Location: eastern nc on Jun 3, 2010 at 05:36 AM
    As to comment "concerned" made about making laws about moving over like is done for law enforcement or emergency services. There are laws about work zones as well, The fines are pretty good but not good enough, stand on the side of the road with any type situation,flat tire,traffic stop, accident or whatever and watch the idiots fly by not paying attention or not moving over. Don't turn your back on them. Concerned you are correct these workers are very important as well. I believe traffic cones or flashing lights of any kind confuse the drivers.
  • by Concerned Location: Duplin County on Jun 2, 2010 at 07:18 PM
    As a spouse of a DOT employee I encourage everyone to talk with their local representatives to help pass the same law for DOT workers as the move over law for law enforcement and emergency vehicles. These men and women are just as important and face just as much danger working on our busy highways.
  • by wd on Jun 2, 2010 at 07:11 PM
    I hate having to drive on I40. It makes my hair stand on my head, 'specially that section between Raleigh and High Point. Everybody flies and even with multiple lanes the traffic stays congested; for those people like me not familiar with those exits and lanes it is awful; and those that are familiar with it drive like bats out of h*ll. I don't know how well the visibility was for the trucker or if there was sufficient notification of road construction, but I'm sure the road construction is WHY he got charged; because the safety of those workers is paramount. EVERYBODY is supposed to slow down and watch for these people that perform a service for the rest of us that are privileged to be able to drive on these interstates. It isn't a right, making money or not making money. More people lose their lives on our highways than any other reason because we just don't want to slow down. G-d bless him, he was only 21 years old and killed in an accident that never should have happened.
  • by B Location: NC on Jun 2, 2010 at 03:57 PM
    Somebody driving 80mph is a bad guy? Wonder what the trooper is if he's going 120?
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