ROCKINGHAM — A two-vehicle wreck at the intersection of River Road and Valley Hill Drive Thursday afternoon left a truck upside down and a nearby resident asking when something will be done about people driving too fast along the winding road.
A white 1998 Chevrolet Blazer rear-ended a white 1997 Ford Ranger pickup while heading north on River Road as the pickup slowed down to turn right onto Valley Hill Drive, according to a report from the Rockingham Police Department. The Blazer’s grill was punched in and the Ranger had flipped on its roof on the north side of Valley Hill Drive.
Police cited the driver of the Blazer at the time, Lewis Edward Chavis, 29, of Thomas Street in Hamlet, for failing to reduce speed and for having an expired registration on the vehicle. The driver of the Ranger was Matthew Shane Goodwin Rhode, 23, of Eason Drive in Rockingham. Chief Billy Kelly said in an email that speed was not a factor in the wreck.
The Blazer left skid marks on the northbound side of River Road, debris strewn in a 30-foot radius and both vehicles leaked significant amounts of fuel.
EMS was not called to the scene, according to the report.
Michael Cole, a nearby resident who heard the wreck, said there have been at least five wrecks on the stretch of road in front of his house — about 30 yards from the wreck — where he’s lived for the last four years. Cole said there has always been a problem with people speeding down Old Cheraw Highway, which turns into River Road.
“They constantly speed here,” he said of the double yellow-lined road. Cole added that he worries about the children getting on and off school buses on the road. He said his wife heard multiple cars revving their engines on the road Wednesday night and suspects the road is a popular location for racing.
A police officer on the scene had to flag down at least one other pickup that was speeding past the wreck Thursday afternoon.
A review of accident records on River Road — though not in the same location — since Jan. 1, 2016 showed seven total collisions, including the one on Thursday, with two being speed-related, according to Kelly. The chief said the Rockingham Police Department “is not aware of nor has any evidence” of racing on River Road.
Kelly said RPD has done “saturation patrols” in the area, meaning putting increased numbers of officers in a specific area, and have had roadside radar enforcement watching for speeding drivers.
Reach Gavin Stone at 910-817-2674 or [email protected]