Johnston County Deputy Charged In Fatal Accident

A Johnston County deputy sheriff involved in a fatal collision this month while responding to a call was formally charged this afternoon (Wednesday).  The State Highway Patrol charged Deputy Quinton Rhue, 23, with misdemeanor death by motor vehicle and unsafe passing. Deputy Rhue was issued a criminal summons. He was not taken into custody.

Johnston County Report Photo

On January 9th at 2:43pm, Deputy Rhue was responding to a “suicide shots fired call” with the blue lights and siren activated on his marked 2018 Dodge Charger patrol car.  At the intersection of Highway 301 and Watson Road near Micro, Deputy Rhue’s cruiser collided with a 2001 GMC Sonoma pickup driven by Shirley Ann James, 63, of E. Fremont Street, Kenly.

According to a Highway Patrol accident report, Deputy Rhue was traveling northbound on Highway 301 and had moved into the left (southbound) lane to pass two vehicles that were also headed northbound.  The first vehicle, a small SUV, slowed and pulled to the right.  The second vehicle, James’ GMC pickup, began to make a left turn from Highway 301 onto Watson Road.  The front right corner of the patrol car struck the left driver’s side door of the pickup in the left lane (southbound lane).

After the impact, the patrol car traveled another 237 feet before stopping off the left shoulder.  The pickup slid 152 feet and overturned facing west on the right shoulder, according to the accident report filed by Trooper B.S. Johnson.

Johnston County Report Photo

Ms. James was pinned in her overturned truck. She died at the scene as a result of her injuries.  Deputy Rhue was transported to Wake Med with serious but non-life threatening injuries.

According to the report, Deputy Rhue was originally traveling at an estimated 100 miles per hour, and at the time of collision was traveling approximately 90mph.  James was traveling at 15mph.  The posted speed limit is 55mph along that section of Highway 301.  There were no tire impressions or skid marks prior to impact.  The report stated there were two eyewitnesses to the fatal crash.