BENSON – A Four Oaks man was critically injured, and two others were seriously hurt, in a three vehicle accident Tuesday morning on Interstate 95 in Benson. The 12:36am crash closed both northbound lanes for two and a half hours. Troopers said alcohol was a contributing factor.
According to the State Highway Patrol, Aldo Meraz, age 19, of Four Oaks was operating a 1998 Chevrolet pickup truck southbound at the posted speed limit of 65mph. The pickup ran off the roadway to the right, then ran off the interstate to the left into the median, striking the median guardrail and overturning across the guardrail into the northbound travel lanes.
The overturned truck was immediately struck by two northbound vehicles also traveling at the posted speed limit. A 2019 Ford U-Haul driven by Elin Anderson, 28, of New York, NY and a 2016 Dodge SUV operated by Giovanni Wiley, age 37, of Fayetteville.
After the impact, the Chevrolet truck came to rest on the paved shoulder still overturned. The U-Haul and Dodge came to rest on the shoulder.
According to an accident report, the pickup traveled 211 feet after being struck by the two other vehicles.
Meraz was ejected from the truck. He was rushed to WakeMed with life threatening injuries. Anderson and Wiley were both hospitalized with serious injuries. There were no passengers in the vehicles.
Trooper J.J. Kiser cited Meraz for driving while impaired, driving on a revoked license, seat belt violation, reckless driving, and failure to maintain lane control.
Damage to a NC DOT median guardrail was estimated at $12,500.