Acclaimed poet & NC State emeritus professor killed while crossing Raleigh road

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Monday, December 9, 2019

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- The 86-year-old man hit and killed while walking in a Raleigh crosswalk has been identified as a nationally acclaimed poet.

Gerald Barrax was walking across Sunnybrook Road near the Walnut Creek Softball Complex around 5 p.m. when, according to Raleigh Police Department, 41-year-old Jamal Jones failed to stop his car, crashing into and killing Barrax.

Jones was arrested and charged with failure to yield to a pedestrian and misdemeanor death by motor vehicle.

Barrax is an Emeritus Professor of English at NC State who has published six volumes of poems--one of which was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize and a National Book Award.

In 2006, he was inducted into the North Carolina Literary Hall of Fame. Most recently, Gov. Roy Cooper presented him with the North Carolina Award for Literature.

Barrax is originally from Alabama, but he began his teaching career in North Carolina back in 1969 at North Carolina Central University. He joined the NC State faculty in 1970 and retired in 1997.

Barrax married twice and had five children.

Raleigh police are investigating after a vehicle struck a pedestrian near the Walnut Creek Softball Complex on Saturday afternoon.