11/11/07 — Would-be robber dies after being hit by truck

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Would-be robber dies after being hit by truck

By Nick Hiltunen
Published in News on November 11, 2007 2:16 AM

A Dudley man accused of stealing from a Selma home died Thursday night after being hit by the homeowner's truck, authorities say.

Local prosecutors don't yet know if they will charge the homeowner who says he accidentally hit Cornelius Brown, 40, Johnston County Sheriff spokeswoman Tammy Amaon said.

Homeowner John Reid, 37, told Johnston deputies his home had been robbed of lawn care business equipment four times in the past year, Mrs. Amaon said.

Reid, of Hawkins Road, came home Thursday around 1:30 p.m. to find an Oldsmobile speeding out of his driveway, Mrs. Amaon said.

Reid pulled his truck up to block the suspects in, Mrs. Amaon said.

"He pulled in front of them and (the suspects) asked him what he was doing here.

He said 'I live here,' ... and they said they were looking for work," Mrs. Amaon said.

Brown, of Bass Road, stood outside the Oldsmobile to talk to Reid in his driveway, the spokeswoman said.

Brown's passenger Mark McNair, 46, of Brentwood Drive, stayed inside the sedan throughout the incident, the spokeswoman said.

When Reid called 911 from a mobile phone, Brown jumped out of the vehicle as if to run, the spokeswoman said.

Reid told police when he saw the movement, his foot slipped off the brake and onto the accelerator, propelling his truck forward and hitting the sedan, Mrs. Amaon said.

The truck pinned Brown between his Oldsmobile's door and a fence post, the spokeswoman said, causing fatal internal injuries.

Brown, already in critical condition on the scene, was taken by medical helicopter to Duke Medical Center in Durham where he died Thursday.

The Johnston County District Attorney Susan Doyle could not be reached Friday for a decision on whether charges would be filed against Reid.

When deputies investigated the situation, an auger belonging to Reid was found in the back yard. Also in the trunk was a generator that did not belong to Reid, Mrs. Amaon said.

McNair, the passenger, is charged with misdemeanor larceny, second-degree trespassing and felonious possession of burglary tools, authorities said.

A telephone message left at Reid's home were not returned.