03/10/10 — Police recreate fatal accident on U.S. 70 near Berkeley Boulevard

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Police recreate fatal accident on U.S. 70 near Berkeley Boulevard

By Nick Hiltunen
Published in News on March 10, 2010 1:46 PM

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Goldsboro police officers under the direction of Capt. Mike West pack up after recreating the accident that killed a Snow Hill man around midnight Saturday. U.S. 70's eastbound lane was closed during the recreation Tuesday morning.

The eastbound lane of U.S. 70 was closed for about two hours Tuesday morning near Berkeley Boulevard as investigators used laser-guided measurement tools to recreate a fatal accident.

Capt. Mike West said that the two-hour period after morning rush hour was chosen as the safest alternative with as little impact on morning commuters as was feasibly possible.

"I realize I was probably the most hated man in Goldsboro for about two hours this morning," West said with a chuckle.

However, he explained they could not recreate the accident that killed Perry Michael Lanier, 45, at the original time, just after midnight Saturday, because it would be too dangerous to police.

"If I'd shot it at night, when less traffic is on the road, the officers would have been at risk out there," West said. "We decided (the best time) was right after rush hour in the morning, and try to get it in before lunchtime."

The U.S. Department of Transportation, which assisted with the investigation of the Saturday accident, agreed on the plan with police, the captain said.

The accident that killed Lanier happened around midnight when a rollback tow truck driven by Tracy Frederick of North Carolina Street pulled off the left side of U.S. 70 to assist a stranded motorist, with his amber warning lights lit.

Lanier's 2008 Ford truck slammed into the tow truck, nearly slicing it in two, according to some witness accounts.

Both the tow truck and Lanier's truck were carried to the guardrail, and where Lanier died on scene, authorities said.

West said it will take about two weeks to get laser-assisted measurements and the accident recreation complete. He explained that the extra steps are needed to determine exactly how the accident occurred, as well as fault, because of its complicated nature.

"Typically, it'll probably take me between a week and two weeks to get my part of the investigation done," West said.

Then he will speak with the investigating officer, and will confer with a representative of the District Attorney's office to see if charges should be filed, the captain said.

"After that, we will file what will kind of be a supplemental report," West said.