North Carolina Highway Patrol steps up stops on Interstate 40 over Thanksgiving weekend

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This weekend the North Carolina Highway Patrol joined forces with other state and local law enforcement agencies to participate in the I-40 Challenge.

The campaign focused on the I-40 corridor running from North Carolina all the way to California, with troopers stationed at least every twenty miles.

The goal was to try to prevent fatal collisions along this stretch by targeting various violations.

"The primary things we're looking for are aggressive driving, high speed violations, people not wearing their seat belts, and distracted driving," said Sgt. Michael Baker, with the Highway Patrol.

The state Highway Patrol also focused on secondary roadways and set up checkpoints statewide targeting impaired drivers.

As of mid-afternoon Sunday, the NC Highway Patrol had already investigated 319 collisions which resulted in 10 deaths, although none were along I-40. That included the fatal accident along the Durham Freeway Wednesday night.

Jose Alfredo Cruz Mancilla, 17, of Charlotte, was killed when he was ejected from the backseat of a car. Authorities say that car had been speeding before the accident. Another passenger, 27-year-old Juaquin Pana Garcia, of Raleigh, was hospitalized with serious injuries.

Troopers say accidents like these can often be prevented, by following simple safety precautions.

"We ask people to maintain appropriate speeds, please do not tailgate and follow too closely, we ask that people wear their seat belts and primarily pay attention to driving," explains Baker.

As a reminder, if you see bad behavior such as distracted, impaired or aggressive driving, you can always report that to the Highway Patrol by dialing *HP or *47 on your cell phone.

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