A motorcyclist headed home from a weekend ride to the mountains of Virginia and West Virginia was killed by a suspected drunk driver Sunday afternoon.
Johnston County emergency crews responded to the 2:37pm crash on Highway 70 at West Edwards Street in Princeton, near the US70-A intersection.
According to the NC Highway Patrol, a GMC SUV driven by James Edward Newkirk, 70, of Smithfield was traveling on West Edwards Street when he failed to stop for a stop sign and flashing lights at Highway 70. His SUV collided with a black Harley Davidson motorcycle traveling eastbound on Highway 70.
As a result of the impact, the operator of the motorcycle, Gary Martin Henry, 61, of Havelock, NC was ejected and died at the scene. A second motorcycle traveling with Henry avoided the collision but the operator witnessed his friend being struck. He was visibly shaken but was not physically injured.
Newkirk was arrested by state troopers and charged with driving while impaired and felony death by motor vehicle.
A passenger in the SUV, Sarah Louise Massengill, 27, of Princeton fled from the scene but was later apprehended. Massengill was charged with felony fleeing the scene of an accident resulting in death. Both Newkirk and Massengill were booked into the Johnston County Jail. As of Monday afternoon, Newkirk was still being held under an $80,000 bond. Massengill was still confined under a $10,000 bond.
Henry’s death marks the 14th fatality on Johnston County roadways in 2018.
Johnston County EMS and the Princeton Fire Department also responded to the scene. Photos by John Payne