Murder Trial Underway In Fatal Johnston County Traffic Accident

Photo by John Payne

SMITHFIELD – A second-degree murder trial got underway Monday in Johnston County Superior Court. Jacob Edwardo Miner of Middlesex is accused of causing a fatal traffic accident that claimed the life of Dillon Chance Keesling, 29, of Zebulon.

The two-vehicle accident happened around 9:30pm June 4, 2021 on Highway 39 at Richardson Road and was investigated by the State Highway Patrol.

Photo by John Payne

Miner was reportedly traveling southbound on Highway 39 in a gray Saturn SUV when he failed to slow down for a motorcycle ahead of him that was slowing to make a left turn onto Richardson Road. Miner struck the motorcycle from behind, ejecting Keesling, who died at the scene.

Authorities said Miner and Keesling had been friends for more than 10 years.

Miner is charged with second-degree murder, driving while impaired, and driving on a revoked license from a prior DWI conviction.

Miner had two prior DWI convictions in Wake and Craven counties, and was awaiting trial on a third DWI offense in Johnston County when the 2021 accident occurred.

Both the SUV and motorcycle were seized by the Highway Patrol as part of the investigation.

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