The Highway 70 Clayton Bypass was closed for several hours Friday morning after fatal collision shut down the busy roadway.
At 5:46am, troopers said a silver Mazda 3 passenger car was traveling westbound on the Bypass near the bridge over Little Creek Church Road when the driver became involved in a single vehicle accident. The car became disabled across the westbound travel lanes facing south. Moments later, a silver Ford F-150 traveling in the left lane, and a white tow truck pulling a trailer in the right lane, approached the wrecked Mazda, which had no visible lights due to the previous collision.
Both drivers swerved to avoid missing the Mazda. The tow truck struck the Mazda causing it to spin around and strike the F-150. A silver Toyota Corolla approached seconds later in the left lane and struck the Mazda, forcing the Mazda into the median. The Toyota came to rest across in the roadway, but was also immediately struck by a Sheetz gasoline tanker that collided with the driver’s side door of the Toyota, pushing the Toyota into the median against the Mazda. The gasoline tanker stopped in the roadway after the impact.
Troopers said the driver of the Toyota Corolla, 50 year-old Lahoma Ruth Arthur of Selma, was killed in the collision. Several other injuries were reported.
The Highway Patrol Accident Reconstruction Team responded to assist with the investigation. After consulting with the Johnston County District Attorney’s Office, the driver of the Mazda will be charged with misdemeanor death by motor vehicle and a lane control violation. That driver’s name has not yet been released.
Alcohol is not believed to be a factor and all persons involved were restrained with seat belts, according to First Sgt. R.B. Maynard.
The NC DOT set up a detour around the accident scene for several hours while the collision was investigated and the vehicles were removed. All lanes were fully reopened shortly after 12 Noon.
Photos by John Payne