Troopers: Impaired Driver Caused Crash That Seriously Injured Six

PRINCETON – The State Highway Patrol has charged a motorist with driving while impaired and child abuse following a crash on Highway 70 in Johnston County. Six people in two vehicles were sent to the hospital with serious injuries.

The collision was reported at 12:13am Sunday on Highway 70 at Pine Street in Princeton. Troopers said Lidia Martinez-Cruz, 42, of Wendell was operating a 2019 Ford pickup on Pine Street and failed to stop for a steady red light at the intersection of Highway 70. Martinez-Cruz entered the intersection while traveling at an estimated 45mph. Her truck collided in the intersection with 2013 Acura traveling eastbound at 50mph on Highway 70. After the impact the truck overturned on the shoulder. The Acura came to rest facing westbound in the eastbound lanes.

Three passengers in the pickup, ages 14, 31 and 32, were seriously injured.

The driver of the Acura, Robert Bryan Christman, 44, of Snow Hill, NC and two passengers, ages 23 and 36, were all seriously injured. All six seriously injured accident victims were transported to Wake Med in Raleigh. Troopers said all occupants in both vehicles were wearing seat belts.

Martinez-Cruz, who sustained minor injuries and was checked out at the scene by EMS. She was charged by Trooper R.A. Garcia with DWI and misdemeanor child abuse and transported to the Johnston County Jail. Martinez-Cruz registered 0.08 on the Breathalyzer, according to a collision report.

The accident shut down eastbound Highway 70 for approximately 90 minutes.

Several agencies responded to the accident including Johnston County EMS, State Highway Patrol, Princeton Fire Department, Princeton Police Department and Johnston County Sheriff’s Office.

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