Driver charged with killing deputy, firefighter

June 13, 2008 9:00:00 PM PDT
A sheriff's deputy and firefighter were killed Saturday morning as a tractor-trailer hit the men when they were directing traffic on US 17 in Onslow County.

Visibility was low because of a controlled burn at Camp Lejeune and there was dense fog Saturday morning.

This is the first fatality for the Verona Fire department and members are hoping it's their last. Highway 17 is just a few blocks away from the fire station.

Both men were directing traffic and assisting with two accidents on the road, when a tractor-trailer struck both of them.

One of the men was Onslow County Deputy Steve Boehm, 36, who was a 10 year veteran of the department. Onslow county officials say this is a deep loss.

The other man was Verona Fire Fighter Gene Thomas, 52, who has committed 33 years of his life to the department.

Troopers say the truck driver had slowed down but not enough given the conditions.

Authorities have charged the truck driver, 51-year-old Robert Kornegay of Fayetteville, with two counts of misdemeanor death by vehicle and exceeding a safe speed.

A magistrate released Kornegay Saturday on his own recognizance, officials say. It was not immediately clear if he had a lawyer.


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