09/24/07 — Two die in motorcycle crash

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Two die in motorcycle crash

By Matthew Whittle
Published in News on September 24, 2007 2:17 PM

Two people are dead today after their Honda motorcycle was struck by a 1999 Ford Explorer on N.C. 55 at about 5:45 p.m., Sunday, about four miles east of Mount Olive.

The couple, whose names were not released by the state Highway Patrol pending notification of the next of kin, had recently moved to Cumberland County from out of state.

Trooper Michael Conley explained that they were riding their motorcycle west on N.C. 55, when Rudy Garcia, 17, allegedly pulled into the intersection of N.C. 55, N.C. 403 and Zion Church Road. He was traveling north on Zion Church Road when he struck the motorcycle.

"He stopped for the stop sign and flashing light and when he pulled out, he struck the motorcycle," Conley explained. "He didn't see the motorcycle.

"It's one of those weird intersections, but that's the first wreck I've investigated there and I've been here for four-and-a-half years."

Garcia is charged with failure to yield, not having an operator's license and two counts of misdemeanor death by a motor vehicle.

He was only about two-tenths of a mile from his house on Zion Church Road and was taking his girlfriend home, Conley said.

Burton added that despite the fact Garcia left the scene briefly, he was not being charged with any sort of hit-and-run.

"He went home to get his mother and came right back. We're not treating that as he ran from the scene," Burton said.

Conley explained that when the couple's motorcycle was hit, it ran off the right side of the road, struck a mailbox and went over a ditch. Both passengers were thrown from the bike.

"They were taken to Wayne Memorial (Hospital) where they died," said 1st Sgt. Jerry Burton, describing their injuries as massive trauma to the chest and lower extremities.

Conley added that the couple died before they could be airlifted to Pitt County Memorial Hospital.