LUMBERTON, NC (WMBF) – One safety worker was killed and another was injured when they were struck by a passing motorist on I-95 in Lumberton Thursday morning, according to the Lumberton Police Department.
Officers were dispatched to the accident at the 16-mile marker at about 4:56 a.m. and found two Stay Alert Safety Security Workers had been struck, according to a news release from Captain Terry Parker. One victim, 31 year old Sergio Escobar of Middlesex, North Carolina was hit by the vehicle killing him on scene. The second construction worker was inside the work truck at the time of the collision. 27 year old, Michael Paris of Zebulon, North Carolina was transported to UNC Chapel Hill Hospital in critical condition.
The motorist was not injured in the crash. 53 year old, Pamela Gail Johnston from Pennsylvania was travelling north in the right hand lane on I-95 and her 2004 Jeep Liberty veered off the road through the fence. She was driving 70-75 mph and officers believe she was not under the influence at the time, but do think she was sleep deprived. "It's just too dangerous to try to travel for 12 15 hours without sleep, being sleep deprived is just as dangerous as being under the influence of alcohol," said Chief Barnes,
Johnston was arrested on scene and charged with misdemeanor death by motor vehicle, failure to maintain lane, reduce to speed and yield to a construction site.She is in custody right now at the Robeson County Detention Center under $50 thousand dollar secured bond.
"Anytime that you have to get out and be out on the interstate on foot no matter what your doing, I don't care if you're a police officer or a construction worker, it is extremely dangerous." He explained, especially on such a travelled corridor like I95 and stressed the importance of the 'move over law', which is geared toward protecting law enforcement, fire rescue, EMT's, and highway workers.
Barnes said, "Same thing with construction zones, legislature has passed laws that have stiffened the fines for people who are working construction zones and people are speeding through the construction zones and it's been an ongoing problem."
The investigation is ongoing at this time under the traffic division of the Lumberton Police Department.