Driver Killed Instantly

The driver of a pickup truck was killed instantly in a single vehicle accident on Interstate 40 in southern Johnston County last night.

The accident was reported around 10:15pm near the 328 mile marker outside of Benson.

A 2016 Ram pickup was traveling westbound on the interstate when a witness said the vehicle veered off the roadway and slammed head on into a tall pine tree.  Officials estimate the truck was traveling at approximately 75 mph when it struck the tree.

The driver, Jonathan L. Patino, 20 of Garner, was killed instantly.  A passenger in the truck, Saul Zavala-Juarez, 26, of Garner was pinned in the wreckage. After being cut free, Zavala-Juarez was rushed by ambulance to Wake Medical Center in Raleigh for treatment of serious injuries.

The NC Highway Patrol said both men were wearing their seat belts. Troopers are looking into whether alcohol may have played a factor.  The accident was investigated by Trooper M.A. Samosky.

Photos by John Payne