DUPLIN COUNTY, N.C. (WITN) – The North Carolina Highway Patrol says they are investigating three separate crashes that left three women in their 30s dead all within 12 hours on Sunday.
Troopers say these crashes all happened in different areas of Duplin County between 5 a.m. and 6 p.m.
First Sergeant Jason Casteen has been with the agency since 1999 and says he’s never seen anything like this, calling the string of deadly crashes an “anomaly.”
Troopers say the first crash happened around 5:16 a.m. at the intersection of Highway 41 at Rivenbarktown Road.
Kimberlynn Perez, 31, was driving a 2006 Chevy Equinox without a seat belt on when she failed to stop at a stop sign and drove into a tree, according to investigators. Officials say she died at the scene and that the investigation is ongoing.
The next crash happened just over an hour later.
The Highway Patrol says Ashley Lopez, 37, ran off the road, overturned, and struck a tree while driving a 2005 Nissan Pathfinder around 6:43 a.m.
Officials say she was found on Highway 111 between Cabin Street and Kitty Noecker Road. Investigators say she was pronounced dead at the scene, and they are still investigating that crash.
About 12 hours later, a third deadly car collision was reported.
Around 5:46 p.m., Rebecca Rachlin was killed when her vehicle collided head-on with another vehicle on Highway 41 at Cypress Hole Road, according to investigators.
The Highway Patrol says 76-year-old Cornell Hall crossed the center line while going east in a pick-up truck and hit Rachlin’s vehicle. The woman died at the scene.
Officials say Hall was taken to New Hanover Regional Medical Center. After he is released, the Highway Patrol says he is facing misdemeanor death, traveling left of center, and failing to wear a seat belt charges.