The North Carolina Highway Patrol reported that Dunn Mayor Oscar Harris, his wife, and four others suffered personal injuries in a crash in northwestern Sampson County on the afternoon of January 24.
According to Harris, he and his wife, Jean, were “banged up” and had some bruises, but should be OK. They received treatment at Betsy Johnson Regional Hospital in Dunn later that evening.
Trooper Greg Steffens said the crash took place at approximately 4:30 p.m. on U.S. 13 at Autry Mill Road. A Ford SUV driven by Godwin resident Joel Santiago and carrying three passengers ran a stop sign on Autry Mill Road. The Cadillac SUV Harris was driving collided with the Ford, which went into a ditch before being hit a second time by the Cadillac.
Two of Santiago’s passengers, Dunn resident Michelle Wolfe and her 3-year-old son, Conner, were ejected during the crash, according to Steffens. Wolfe was not wearing a seat belt and her son was not in a child safety seat. Steffens says the rain-softened ground helped them avoid potentially fatal injuries.
Wolfe’s mother, Godwin resident Doris Wolfe, was also a passenger in the vehicle. All of the Wolfes were listed in stable condition later that evening at Cape Fear Valley Medical Center in Fayetteville.
There was no listing for Santiago at the hospital, but Steffens said his injuries were not life-threatening.
Police charged Santiago with running a stop sign, driving without a license, failure to use a child safety seat, and having open containers of alcohol in the vehicle.
Steffens said Santiago was not driving under the influence, but open beer cans were discovered inside the SUV.