Trucker badly burned in crash

October 20, 2009 9:09:23 PM PDT
Authorities reopened a portion of I-95 Tuesday morning after an overnight crash just south of Dunn in Harnett County.The Highway Patrol said it happened around midnight when the driver of a pickup truck ran out of gas in one of the lanes and tried to push his truck to the side of the road.

A tractor-trailer approaching from behind nearly ran him over, but was able to stop just in time. However, a tanker truck carrying pig blood was behind the tractor-trailer and wasn't able to stop.

The tanker clipped the semi, slammed into a guardrail, and burst into flames.

Witness and rescuer Chris Burns said he and his brother came up on the wreck seconds after it happened. When they pulled over to see if they could help, Burns said he could barely believe what he saw.

"I saw him spring from the cab and I guess he was sprayed with fuel he immediately burst into flames and I was like this guy is really in trouble," he said. "We got him over to the grass and I patted the flames down on him and had him lay still till emergency help got there."

The driver of the tanker, Frankie Graves of Goldsboro, was airlifted to the hospital with burns on 40 percent of his body.

Graves is in critical condition at the NC Jaycee Burn Center at UNC Hospitals.

Authorities charged Charles Alphin, the driver of the pick-up that ran out of gas, with impeding traffic and having a fictitious license plate.

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