DURHAM — State troopers were trying to determine the identity of a man who was killed in a head-on collision early Saturday after he tried to avoid a DWI checkpoint and led two patrol cruisers on a high-speed chase that ended on N.C. 98 near the Durham-Wake county line.
First Sgt. Jeff Gordon, a spokesman with the N.C. State Highway Patrol, said the man was burned beyond recognition when the sports car he was driving burst into flames after crashing into a box truck.
“He was burned pretty badly,” Gordon said.
Emergency workers transported to Duke Hospital two people who were riding in the U-Haul-type, box truck that collided with the sports car. Their injuries are not considered life-threatening, Gordon said.
The incident began around 2:30 a.m. on N.C. 98 near North Adams Road, the Highway Patrol reported.
Gordon said a black Chrysler Crossfire was approaching the checkpoint when it turned around and headed back down N.C. 98 in the eastbound lanes.
Two Highway Patrol cars pursued the Chrysler that was traveling at high speeds. The Chrysler veered out of control near the intersection of N.C. 98 and Southview Road and traveled left of the center line. The roadster ended up on the left shoulder of the road where the driver overcorrected, landed back onto the road but in the path of the box truck. The two vehicles crashed head-on and both burst into fire, Gordon said.
The two passengers in the box truck managed to escape the burning vehicle, but the driver of the Chrysler was ejected from the vehicle and died at the scene, Gordon reported.
The two patrol cars that were following the Chrysler avoided the crash by traveling to the right shoulder of N.C. 98.
“One of the patrol units clipped a telephone pole before it came to a stop,” Gordon said.
The troopers were not injured.
Gordon said the patrol has not yet determined why the driver of the Chrysler decided to evade the checkpoint. Nor was he sure of the speeds the Chrysler was traveling on N.C. 98, which has a posted speed limit of 55 mph.
Gordon said the Highway Patrol may have to wait on confirmation about the victim’s identity from the state medical examiner’s office before notifying the next of kin.