A spokesperson for the Patrol said Trooper Arnold Sylvester Samuel was traveling north on Highway 301 in Rocky Mount around 11 p.m. when a 2002 Dodge Stratus driven by 59-year-old Maurilia Solis Leon pulled out in front of him from the parking lot of a Golden Corral restaurant.
The Patrol said two independent witnesses reported Trooper Samuel attempted to steer to the left to avoid a collision, but hit the driver-side door of the Dodge, killing Leon.
Nick Santana, who was waiting for Leon to return home from her shift at the Golden Corral, said he heard about what happened from her co-workers.
"They said, 'Please come over, she's been a very bad accident,'" Santana said. I said, 'Where's she at?' They said in the ambulance!"
The Patrol did not give Samuel's estimated speed. The speed limit in the area of the crash is 45 mph. It said the investigation was ongoing. They told ABC 11 that Samuel was not enroute to a call at the time of the crash.
The trooper suffered non-life-threatening injuries and was taken to Nash General Hospital.
The preliminary investigation showed both drivers were wearing their seatbelts and alcohol was not a factor in the collision.