Authorities said 39-year-old Terry Pearson and 43-year-old Angela Armstrong, who are both homeless, were crossing Ramsey Street near Mullins Avenue around 7 p.m. when they were hit by a 2001 Ford van.
The impact smashed a hole in the driver's side windshield of the SUV.
The driver of the Ford, 25-year-old Adam Pelles of Buckingham Avenue, said he was attempting to make a left turn onto Mullins Avenue and didn't see the pair.
"I am pulling into the turn lane here at Mullins, less than 50 yards away, and it's the same thing I do a thousand times come from that direction," he said. "I pulled into the turn lane, and there was a thump on the car. Next thing I know people are screaming. Cars are stopped. I get out and my first thought was to make sure he is OK."
Pearson was transported to UNC Chapel Hill with serious injuries, while Armstrong was treated at Cape Fear Valley Medical Center for minor injuries.
Police told ABC11 that Pelles was cited for a traffic violation.