Morganton man dies in I-40 wreck

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Posted: Friday, January 18, 2013 1:35 pm

VALDESE – A Morganton man was killed early Friday morning after losing control of his car along Interstate 40, authorities with the North Carolina State Highway Patrol report.

Stephen Barker, 34, was travelling eastbound on I-40 at approximately 1:20 a.m. Friday when troopers say he hit a patch of black ice near mile marker 112 and began to spin out of control.

Barker’s vehicle reportedly ran off the right shoulder of the roadway and struck the shoulder guardrail. It then traveled across the roadway and struck the median guardian rail before coming to rest in the left lane of eastbound traffic.

According to reports at NCSHP, following the incident Barker’s headlights began to fail.

With no visible lighting, Barker’ car was struck moments later by a tractor trailer travelling east on I-40.

Barker was deceased at the scene.

Burke County saw 14 motor collisions as a result of the winter weather Thursday evening and Friday morning.

Sgt. C.R. Jones with the highway patrol said that despite the number of auto accidents, the county still fared well comparatively.

“In Burke County, we actually got by pretty well,” Jones said Friday afternoon. “Between 2:30 yesterday afternoon and 8 this morning in Burke County we only worked 14 collisions.”

Twelve of those collisions, Jones said, occurred between 2:30 p.m. and 8 p.m. Thursday during the roughest part of the storm.

“However, we had close to 40 calls for service in that time,” Jones added.

A call for service generally designates less severe assignments, included stranded motorists and stalled vehicles.

Jones said there was still a sizeable amount of black ice on Burke County roads Friday morning.

“Between 1:30 and daybreak there was a considerable amount of black ice, especially in areas of the roadway that remain shaded,” Jones explained.

By mid-morning though, most of that ice had cleared and travel safety had returned to normal levels.