Witness describes tractor accident, five used cars smashed

KINSTON, NC (WITN) - A witness was shocked when a tractor pulling farm equipment ran over and smashed several used cars on a Kinston car lot shutting down lanes of traffic on the highway.

Trayvon Phillips is a used car salesman at Faith Automotive Sales on Highway 11. The five damaged cars looked like accordions with smashed windows and bumpers hanging off the sides.​ Phillips describes the scene of the accident.

“I was sitting in the car, and I saw the tractor came through. And I was wondering what was going on. It was bouncing,” Phillips said.

He continues, “I was hearing popping noises, loud noises—like his engine blew out,” Phillips said, "Then, I see him smoosh on... ram on top of the cars. And I was like, 'Oh Lord!'”

Authorities shut down the highway and spent hours cleaning up the mess along with tow trucks. The tow trucks had to prop the tractor up, then remove the vehicles underneath. It to two tow trucks to finally tow the tractor, as it was much larger than the trucks.

Kinston Fire and Rescue says the driver of a tractor pulling land-levelers, or what some may call dirt pans, traveling northbound had a mechanical malfunction that caused the tractor to veer right, ramming into the lot, and stopping at a pole. The driver’s boss didn’t want to speak on camera, but told WITN the engine, “blew up” causing the driver to lose control.

Deputy Fire Chief Ernie Davis says he’s never seen anything like it before. He says the driver lost steering and breaks.

“The tractor actually ran over the top of some of them, on the hoods, and kind of crushed them down,” Davis said.

Firefighters were able to put absorbents down on fluids leaking from the damaged cars. Phillips and Davis are grateful no one was hurt.

Davis said, "We hate to see anybody lose any property, but the good thing about it is it didn't run over any occupied vehicles where we had any injuries or deaths."

Faith Automotive sales now faces at least $60,000 to $70,000 worth of damage, says Phillips. The lot is waiting on a police report to figure out the next steps. Though there were employees in the building, No one was inside of the used cars. Phillips says none of the cars were salvageable.

“[We’ll] go buy some more cars. We’re just glad nobody was out there getting hurt or nothing,” said Phillips.

Highway 11 is now open to traffic.


Police in Kinston had a big mess on their hands after farm equipment ran over several parked vehicles at a used car lot late Wednesday morning.

It happened around 11:15 a.m. on Highway 11 near J.P. Harrison Boulevard.

The tractor, which was hauling a dirt pan, ran over between five cars parked at Faith Automotive Sales.

Police say the northbound tractor had a mechanical malfunction and lost control, causing the tractor to veer to the right. There were no injuries.

An employee said they estimate the damage to the vehicles to be between $60,000 and $70,000.

Northbound lanes of Highway 11 just before J.P. Harrison Boulevard are were shut down as crews worked to clean up the debris.