09/20/07 — Victim, 45, identified; teen dies in crash

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Victim, 45, identified; teen dies in crash

By Nick Hiltunen
Published in News on September 20, 2007 2:00 PM

Investigators released the name of a man killed in a motorcycle accident Wednesday morning on U.S. 13 South.

Thomas Lester Brantley, 45, of Fayetteville died instantly when his motorcycle was struck by a van trying to pass a 10-wheel tractor-trailer, state Trooper J.B. Wiggs said late Wednesday.

No charges have been filed, Wiggs said.

Meanwhile, a Johnston County teen was killed Tues-day afternoon in a one-vehicle accident on Redhouse Road.

Gilbert Michael Martin, 17, of Progressive Church Road, Princeton, was killed when his vehicle ran off the right side of the highway in a curve, then re-crossed the roadway and ran off the left side, flipping several times and striking a tree.

A passenger is his vehicle, Joseph Anderson, 17, of Woodard Road, Princeton, was injured.

No alcohol or drug use was suspected in the accident, investigators said.

The van that struck Brantley's motorcycle was driven by Robert Lee Delacruz, 29, of Baltimore. Investigators said he had been trying to pass the 18-wheeler when his van struck the motorcycle, sending it into the larger truck, which was driven by Eric Scott Edwards, 28, of Greenville.

The van was owned by DirectTV. The 18-wheeler was owned by Coastal Beverage of Farmville.

Wiggs said it appeared that Delacruz made a proper move in trying to pass the 18-wheeler. He ran off the road in an attempt to avoid the motorcycle, Wiggs said.

"Mr. Delacruz said he started (passing) in the passing zone, and right now, that's what we're going with," Wiggs said.

The accident happened in the 6000 block of U.S. 13, about seven miles west of Grantham School.