Troopers: Man, Good Samaritan killed by semi on I-77 - WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC

Troopers: Man, Good Samaritan killed by semi on I-77

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Antonio Eugene Thorpe Antonio Eugene Thorpe
CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) -

Two people, including a Good Samaritan, are dead after troopers say a semi-truck crashed into an overturned vehicle that had crashed minutes before, leaving a man trapped inside.

According to the North Carolina Highway Patrol, it happened along northbound Interstate 77, near Westinghouse Boulevard, Monday night around 11 p.m.

That's when troopers say Ninh Van Nguyen, 64, attempted to change lanes or lost control of his vehicle and collided with another vehicle. Nguyen's vehicle overturned and came to rest on its driver's side in the roadway.

Troopers say another driver, Antonio Eugene Thorpe, of Fort Mill, S.C., came upon the wreck and pulled over onto the side of the road in an effort to rescue Nguyen from his vehicle.

Investigators say he was on the roof of the SUV, trying to get Nguyen out, when the driver of a semi struck the vehicle.

Both Nguyen and Thorpe were killed in the second collision, troopers say.

WBTV talked to a close friend of Thorpe Tuesday. He said Thorpe, a full-time fitness trainer, was "the kind of guy when you meet him had an affect on you."

Other friends described Thorpe as "thoughtful," and say they are not surprised he went to the overturned vehicle to help. They said it was the essence of his character.

So what should drivers do if they come to a crash scene?

"It doesn't matter if it's two lanes or eight lanes" says First Sgt. K. J. Sturgill. "You gotta ensure all traffic, all lanes of travel are at a complete stop before you proceed to help anybody."

State troopers say "the interstate is a beast - a lot of traffic traveling at a high rate of speed." 

Troopers say while there is no exact science on what to do if you drive up to a crash scene and get out to help, they say "you have to help yourself before you help others. You gotta be safe and ensure your own safety."

Troopers says the second vehicle coming to help should put a little distance between the car and the crash scene because "what that little bit of distance does is actually give advance notice of the situation to drivers approaching the incident.

Sgt Sturgill says "You really rely on people behind you being aware of what's in front of them. You're depending on them to also see you stopped"

WBTV has learned that the driver of the truck stopped after the collision and was not injured. It is not clear if he will face any charges.

The northbound side of I-77 at Westinghouse Boulevard was shut down for a brief time, but reopened around 3 a.m. Tuesday morning.

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