A Southern Pines youth was killed early yesterday morning when a driver struck him along U.S. Hwy. 15-501 near the Hickory Tavern, about a mile south of the traffic circle in Pinehurst. The accident happened around 5:15 a.m. Thursday when the driver of a Nissan Altima encountered two boys walking along the highway.
According to the official accident report, 42-year-old William Gardner Mullen of Southern Pines swerved in an effort to avoid colliding with the pedestrians, who were standing in the car’s northbound lane of travel. Mullen managed to avoid a 15-year-old, but struck and killed 17-year-old Timothy Jeremiah Reeder.
Neither speed nor alcohol was said to have been a contributing factor in the incident. At last check, the Highway Patrol had not yet closed the investigation, but charges against the driver were not likely, based on preliminary findings.
Coincidentally, the accident came just hours before a kickoff training in Apex for the state’s “Watch for Me NC” initiative, described by authorities as “a comprehensive campaign aimed at reducing the number of pedestrians and bicyclists hit and injured in crashes with vehicles.” For now, the “Watch for Me NC” campaign is focused on Raleigh and other communities in the Triangle area, with plans to roll out the safety messages statewide at a later date. More details are available at http://www.watchformenc.org.