Officials: 2 injured when SUV hit by tanker truck carrying asphalt

by: Dave Faherty Updated:

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NEWTON, N.C. —

Two men have life-threatening injuries after their SUV was hit by a tanker truck, according to officials.

It took firefighters and rescuers nearly 30 minutes to get both men out of the mangled SUV.

"I heard the truck slam on its brakes and I heard a big metal boom," said witness Tonita Landers.

Landers was on her back porch when she heard the crash. Police believe the driver of the SUV had pulled into the path of a tanker truck that was hauling 5,000 gallons of liquid asphalt.

Rescuers cut the roof off the SUV to reach the two men inside. A helicopter landed in the middle of the highway to airlift one to the hospital.

Officer Patrick Evans was sitting at the intersection when the accident happened right in front of his police cruiser that was covered with shards of glass from the impact.

"It is very dangerous. It is very dangerous for people coming off of Burris. We've had a lot of bad wrecks. I've worked a lot of bad wrecks here," Evans said.

Police said they've worked at least two fatalities at the intersection. They believe a traffic light would make it safer for drivers here trying to pull out onto the four lane highway.

Channel 9 contacted the Department of Transportation by phone Wednesday afternoon and learned a regional traffic engineer has already studied the intersection and recommended extending the median to prevent cars from crossing here. The state already has allocated $700,000 for the project, which could start next year.

For those who live nearby, the sooner the work begins the better.

"It's awful. I worry everyday that there is going to be more accidents," said neighbor Barbara Cloninger.