Tractor Trailer Driver Who Caused Deadly I-95 Wreck Was Impaired, Highway Patrol Says

BENSON – A tractor trailer driver who caused a deadly eight vehicle wreck on Interstate 95 in Johnston County is being held in the Johnston County Jail under a $1 million bond.

The Highway Patrol has charged Curtis Stevan Linen of Cleveland, Ohio with felony death by motor vehicle-DWI, commercial motor vehicle driving while impaired, and a lane control violation.

At 3:29pm Saturday, troopers said Linen was traveling in his red 18 wheeler northbound on I-95 near the 78 mile marker, just south of Benson.  Linen was in the left lane and began to merge into the right line to pass a white Honda Accord also traveling northbound.  The semi collided with a blue Honda Accord in the right lane, then swerved back left striking the white Honda, spinning it around then striking the white Honda a second time.   The white Honda and tractor trailer then went into the median and through the guardrail into the southbound lanes of I-95.

The white Honda collided head-on with a southbound grey Acura.  The tractor trailer collided head-on with a white Chevy passenger car.  A grey passenger car, grey Toyota SUV and a white Chevy truck all traveling southbound collided with the side of the 18 wheeler that had stopped across both southbound lanes.

The driver of the white passenger car struck head-on by the semi, 24 year-old Michael Shane Wallace Jr. of Fayetteville, was killed in the collision.

Twelve additional occupants in the vehicles were injured.  9 sustained minor injuries and 3 sustained critical life-threatening injuries.  At last report one victim still remains in critical condition.  Another remains in serious condition.  The names of the injured have not been released.

Curtis Stevan Linen

Troopers said Curtis Linen was taken into custody and a blood test was given before he was confined in the Johnston County Jail.   Troopers consulted with the Johnston County District Attorney’s Office before lodging the charges against the 64 year-old truck driver.

The NC Highway Patrol’s Accident Reconstruction Unit responded and assisted with the investigation and mapped the scene with a drone.

The NC DOT and local law enforcement detoured traffic around the crash scene until the interstate was fully reopened around 8:30pm Saturday.

Photo courtesy Eastern Fire Photography