Motorcyclist dies after crashing into manhole cover in Chapel Hill

sgilman@newsobserver.comMarch 1, 2014 

Officials don’t yet know how fast he was going, but 26-year-old Sergio Acero was riding his motorcycle fast enough around a curve to crash into a large concrete manhole cover.

Chapel Hill police responded to a call that came in around 6:30 a.m. Saturday, and found Acero alive but severely injured along Estes Drive Extension near Seawell School Road.

“It was a pretty bad crash,” said Lt. Donnie Rhoads with the Chapel Hill Police Department. “The motorcycle went one way and he went the other.”

Acero died at UNC Hospital.

Rhoads said investigators know Acero was speeding as he came around that corner, and they suspect he also “may have been impaired.”

The manhole cover on that road protrudes “maybe five or six feet” out of the ground, Rhoads said. He said it’s a pretty quiet stretch of road, and he doesn’t remember any accidents there in the past.

“I don’t remember anybody ever hitting that thing,” he said.

The Chapel Hill Police Department is still investigating the case, Rhoads said.

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