Two truck drivers perish in runaway ramp crash

Troopers believe that speed could have been a factor.

Two Florida truck drivers lost their lives early this morning in a crash off of a runaway truck ramp in North Carolina.

The North Carolina Highway Patrol says that the crash happened around 4 a.m. in Lenoir.

Two truck drivers based out of Orlando were hauling eight to ten spools of metal tubing on southbound Highway 321 when they drove off of a runaway truck ramp, according to WSOCTV.

Both of the men were ejected from the truck and were pronounced dead at the scene. Their identities have not yet been released.

Troopers are still investigating the incident but say that there is no evidence that the truck driver behind the wheel attempted to use his brakes before steering onto the runaway truck ramp, which could mean that the truck’s brakes failed.

Though troopers say that the truck was so badly damaged that it was nearly unrecognizable, a kitten was found alive inside and given to animal control.

N.C. Highway Patrol Trooper Chris Bentley noted that the steep grade on Highway 321 can prove treacherous for truckers: “The grade on this mountain is pretty steep, and unfortunately sometimes that can contribute to the braking of the vehicle, especially when they’re loaded.”

Bentley also remarked that speed could have been a factor in the crash: “That’s why it’s 35 (miles per hour) through here. A lot of them think they can just kind of coast it a little bit… but they’ve got to gear it down.”

The North Carolina Department of Transportation is assisting with the investigation into the crash.