Two sisters and the two sons of one of those sisters died while on their way to visit relatives in North Carolina. One person described the truck crash in Union County as “the worst fatality” the area has ever seen, and relatives are in shock at the fatal accident, which occurred just four days into the family’s trip from New Hampshire. Sadly, the truck accident was one of several around the state in recent days and a stark reminder of the dangers of semi-truck accidents across the country.
New Hampshire Family Lost in T-bone Truck Crash on Lancaster Highway
September 18, 2017
Sisters Dale Kennedy and June Allen (65- and 68-years-old, respectively) traveled from Canaan, New Hampshire, to North Carolina with Allen’s sons Michael “Mikey” Allen and Jesse Winters. The family intended to visit the sisters’ mother when tragedy struck.
The group was traveling through Union County at approximately 3:15 p.m. when they reached the intersection of Lancaster Highway and Nesbit Road in Monroe. Dale Kenney, who was driving the 2017 Toyota Camry the group was in, pulled up to the stop sign, and according to a district secretary for the North Carolina State Highway Patrol (NCSHP), stopped briefly before proceeding.
“They stopped at the stop sign but they pulled directly into the path of a 2007 Freightliner tractor-trailer truck,” Janet Ross said in an interview with Valley News. “The Toyota was T-boned and resulted in the death of all four occupants.”
The four family members were killed instantly in the crash, but June Allen’s dog, who was also inside the vehicle, survived. The driver of the 2007 Freightliner tractor-trailer that collided with the Toyota—a 50-year-old Monroe man—sustained minor injuries that did not require hospitalization.
Ross went on to describe the accident as “the worst fatality we (Union County) have ever had here before” and said, “this is the first one we’ve ever had like this, especially all in one family.”
Despite the Union county truck crash being considered the worst of its kind in the area, residents say the section of road where the accident occurred is dangerous, with heavy traffic and a lack of a necessary four-way stop. A report from Channel 9 determined that the Department of Transportation (DOT) gave that section of roadway a 90 of a possible 100 danger score. The same report found nine crashes near the area between 2012 and 2016, though none were fatal. Such statistics, however, highlight the importance of ensuring roadways are as safe as possible for motorists who must contend with large trucks.
Dale Kennedy’s daughter, Connie Locke, took to Facebook to mourn her mother and impress upon others the uncertainty of life, saying at one point:
“We are all at a complete loss. Our children are at a complete loss and we are unsure of how to still make the branches of our family tree function when the root has been so devastatingly ripped from under us and taken away.”
Later, she wrote,
“Please don’t wait. Don’t think you have tomorrow or next week or next month. Because nothing is a given. Forgive, love, call, message, anything to your loved ones. You just never know when something will happen…”
Semi Hauling 40,000 Pounds of Vodka Overturns in Clayton
September 21, 2017
Three days after the fatal truck crash in Union County, a tractor-trailer hauling 40,000 pounds of vodka overturned while trying to maneuver a turn in Clayton, near U.S. Highway 70 and Shotwell Road. Luckily, no one was hurt in the incident, owing partially to the fact that it took place at 5:45 a.m.
A witness who saw the crash helped free the truck driver from the semi, but the contents of the trailer proved a bigger challenge as responders worked to get the vehicle upright. The extreme weight of the cargo resulted in the metal frame of the trailer bending as emergency personnel tried to hoist it up, and, instead, each box of vodka was unloaded by hand. The affected section of road did not open until 2:00 p.m.
The North Carolina State Highway Patrol performed a weight inspection on the semi before deeming the driver, a 33-year-old Georgia man, at fault for the crash. Troopers say he failed to secure his cargo, and its subsequent shift when he attempted to turn caused the trailer to overturn.
Cement Truck Overturns onto Van in Cabarrus County, Trapping Two Inside
September 20, 2017
Two people were airlifted to the hospital after a cement truck overturned onto their vehicle while attempting a turn in Cabarrus County.
A 44-year-old woman was driving the van (a Honda Odyssey) with three teenage girls inside as passengers. The van was waiting to make a left-hand turn onto Zion Church Road when a Blue Dot Readi-Mix cement truck that was approaching from the north tried to make a right turn onto Zion Church Road and overturned onto the van.
Police deputies determined the cement truck driver, Otis Mixon Jr., was traveling at an unsafe speed, which caused the accident, and cited him.
Two of the teenage girls inside were quickly freed by emergency personnel and taken by ambulance to CMC North East, but the driver and the passenger on the driver side were trapped inside the vehicle, which was underneath the heavy cement truck. It required a crane and more than an hour of rescue efforts to free the remaining two people inside the van, who were then taken by helicopter to Carolina’s Medical Center.
All four people inside the Honda are expected to live.