ROCKINGHAM COUNTY, N.C. (WGHP) — A driver will not face charges after a crash that left two people dead and three others seriously injured on US 220 in Rockingham County, according to North Carolina State Highway Patrol.
On Sept. 1, an arm extended from a tractor-trailer snagged a power line, dropping both the line and part of the tractor-trailer’s tarping system onto the road. The tractor-trailer driver did not stay at the scene. A group of motorcyclists ended up getting tangled in the line, and two of them died.
Highway Patrol now says that evidence shows about 6 to 7 minutes passed between when the debris hit the road and when the motorcyclists reached it. During that time, no other traffic was impacted by the debris.
As a result of this evidence, the Rockingham County district attorney decided not to file charges.
At 11:04 a.m. on Sept. 1, the Madison Fire Department announced that US 220 was closed at Williams Road. A short time later, Rockingham County confirmed that US 220 was shut down in both directions at Baggage Road and that it would remain closed “for a considerable amount of time.”
Five people were riding motorcycles on US 220 North near Williams Road when the crash happened, according to investigators.
A 63-year-old King man was driving north on U.S. 220 in a 2005 Freightliner tractor pulling an open-top semi-trailer. An arm attached to the semi-trailer, which helps hold tarping over the truck’s load, was extended.
The arm reportedly caught an overhead utility line that ran across U.S. 220, which ripped off part of the overhead tarping system and brought down the utility line. The debris landed in the road.
The driver did not stay at the scene and continued north on U.S. 220.
A group of about 12 people on motorcycles were also traveling north on U.S. 220. The line got tangled with some of the riders and caused a crash.
Two of the motorcyclists, later identified as Stephen James Matyas, 33, of St. Petersburg, Florida, and Megan Justine Brannon, 29, of Seminole, Florida, died as a result of the crash.
Four others were also taken to a local hospital with serious injuries before being treated and released.
Investigators searched for a tractor-trailer with a white cab and a black trailer with an opening on top. The driver and vehicle were found on Friday evening.