SMITHFIELD — Two people died and five were taken to hospitals Wednesday after an early morning crash that closed one side of Interstate 95 near Smithfield, officials said.
At about 3 a.m. Wednesday, a white 2002 Chevrolet Avalanche crossed from the northbound to the southbound lanes of Interstate 95, hitting a red 2014 Dodge minivan with six people in it, according to the State Highway Patrol.
The minivan left the road and hit several trees, killing the driver and a backseat passenger and seriously injuring three others. The Avalanche eventually ran onto the southbound shoulder, ejecting a woman passenger and an infant, while the driver remained in the SUV.
One of the injured was airlifted to a hospital, and four were taken by ambulances, Johnston County EMS dispatchers reported. The names of the dead were being withheld Wednesday while State Highway Patrol troopers tried to reach their next of kin to notify them.
The occupants of both vehicles lived outside North Carolina, according to the Highway Patrol.
A preliminary investigation has found that neither speed nor alcohol caused the crash. The Highway Patrol’s investigation was ongoing Wednesday afternoon.