Pedestrian killed in Durham

September 29, 2009 6:40:46 PM PDT
Durham police are investigating a fatal crash involving a pedestrian on 15-501 at Mt. Moriah Rd.Police say 27-year-old Eric Franklin Simpson of Carrboro was crossing the highway toward New Hope Commons Shopping Center when he was struck by a vehicle traveling eastbound.

Vernon Chris Worley, 31, of Mebane was driving the car. He was in the far left lane when he hit Simpson around 5:45 a.m.

Worley told investigators he did not have time to brake before his car hit Simpson. Simpson was pronounced dead at the scene and Worley was not injured.

Police told Eyewitness News Simpson and his roommate commuted to Durham Tuesday morning and parked at the roommate's job, Patterson Place Craft store.

Simpson walked from the craft store lot into traffic on 15-501. Police say he was trying to reach the Barnes & Noble bookstore where he worked in order to open the door for co-workers by 6 a.m.

Employees from various Triangle-area Barnes & Noble stores have relieved Simpson's grief stricken co-workers so that the store can remain open.

Worley also was on his way to work at a car dealership located near the scene of the accident.

Police say there are no crosswalks at the intersection of 15-501 and Mt. Moriah Rd.

There have been other accidents involving pedestrians trying to cross at the intersection.

In 1999, a car hit two members of the George Mason University Women's Lacrosse Team. One of them was critically injured.

In 2001, the State Department of Transportation said installing crossing signals at the intersection would increase congestion along the 15-501 corridor. The DOT has considered putting up barriers to prevent pedestrian attempts to cross the highway.

Investigators do not anticipate filing charges against Worley at this time.

The incident slowed traffic on U.S. 15-501 for more than three hours and completely closed Mt. Moriah in both directions.

Anyone with information about the case can call Investigator Larry Cox at 560-4935, ext. 29409.

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