07/22/10 — One killed, six injured in van accident

View Archive

One killed, six injured in van accident

By Catharin Shepard
Published in News on July 22, 2010 1:46 PM

CALYPSO -- One person died and six others were injured Wednesday when the driver of a minivan carrying three generations of a Harrisonburg, Va., family failed to stop at a Calypso intersection and the vehicle collided with a hog truck.

Driver John Snipes Jr., 58, was crossing into the intersection of U.S. 117 and the Interstate 40 Connector when the family's van was struck by a Murphy-Brown tractor-trailer carrying a load of live hogs, State Highway Patrol 1st Sgt. Will Thurston said.

"The man driving the minivan, the way it looks right now, it appears didn't stop at the stop sign," Thurston said.

Snipes's son-in-law Dennis Knupp, 34, died of injuries sustained in the accident. Knupp was riding in the front passenger seat at the time of the accident, according to Highway Patrol reports.

Heather Knupp, 33, was airlifted to WakeMed, where she underwent emergency surgery. She was reported to be in fair condition this morning.

The Knupps' three children, Emma Knupp, 5, Brianna Knupp, 6, and Marcus Knupp, 8, sustained minor injuries in the accident. Snipes Jr. and wife Melissa Snipes, 55, were also injured.

No charges have been filed against the truck driver, Donte Peterson, 36, of Roseboro. The Highway Patrol has not determined whether charges will be filed against Snipes, Thurston said.

"We are going to be in consultation with the district attorney in regards to charges," he said.

Mrs. Knupp sustained a serious leg injury in the accident, but "everybody else, I think, is supposed to be doing pretty well," Thurston said. All family members were transported to WakeMed for medical care.

The accident happened about 11 a.m. Wednesday. The family was returning home from a trip to Carolina Beach.

The Duplin County Sheriff's Office, Calypso Fire Department, Faison Fire Department and Duplin County emergency services responded to the accident. Highway Patrol Trooper Jackie Benton is leading the investigation.