Southeastern winter storm claims three truckers’ lives

Updated Mar 14, 2019

The winter storm that inundated several southern states over the weekend claimed the lives of at least three truck drivers.

An Alabama-based trucker was killed Sunday, Dec. 9, when he left his disabled truck along the side of I-81 near exit 66 in Kingsport, Tennessee. According to the Kingsport Times-News, William James Taylor, 58, of Robertsdale, Alabama, left his truck and was walking on the shoulder when an SUV skidded out of control and struck him.

Workers recover a tractor-trailer that plunged into the Neuse River in North Carolina. (NCDOT photo)Workers recover a tractor-trailer that plunged into the Neuse River in North Carolina. (NCDOT photo)

Police are continuing to search for a truck driver whose truck was found submerged in the Neuse River near Kinston, North Carolina, Sunday morning. The Raleigh-based News & Observer reports the truck went through the guardrail on the U.S. 70/258 bypass overnight Saturday, and a passerby noticed the missing guardrail and debris and notified police around 4 a.m. Sunday.

The report states the cab was pulled from the river by Monday morning, but the driver was not inside. As of Tuesday morning, divers were continuing to search for the missing trucker.

Another truck driver in North Carolina died while trying to shovel his truck out of the snow along I-77 when he began experiencing chest pains. A report from NBC affiliate WYFF says the driver was taken to a hospital where he was pronounced dead. Yadkin County Emergency Services Director Keith Vestal told the news station the death appeared to be due to a heart attack.

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper said the “storm dropped staggering amounts of snow, ice, and rain across our state. A year’s worth of snowfall or more fell on some places in a little more than a day.” The North Carolina State Highway Patrol responded to some 672 crashes, and the National Guard was mobilized to help.

North Carolina Highway Patrol reported over 670 collisions during the storm that dumped a foot or more of snow in many areas, the highest being 34 inches in Mount Mitchell, North Carolina, according to Accuweather.

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