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Verona Firefighter Killed Directing Traffic

UPDATE   6-14-2008 6:16pm
Funeral Infomation

Jones Funeral Home
June 16th 6pm-8pm

Funeral Service
Jones Funeral Home
June 17th at 11am

Internment at Onslow Memorial Park on Highway 24

Jones Funeral Home
303 Chaney Avenue
Jacksonville, NC 28540
Phone Number: (910) 455-1281

An Onslow County Sheriff’s firefighter and a deputy are dead after a wreck on U.S. 17 this morning.

Both were killed by an 18-wheeler while directing traffic on U.S. 17 south of Verona this morning at 5:30 a.m., said Sgt. J. Siles of the N.C. Highway Patrol.

Another deputy was severely injured and was transported out of the county for medical treatment, said Sheriff’s Capt. Rick Sutherland. Deputies and firefighters were directing traffic due to limited visibility on the highway because of fog and smoke from a controlled burn aboard Camp Lejeune, Siles said.

The identities of the two will be released after next-of-kin notification.

Public Safety officials have closed U.S. 17 between Dixon and High Hill Road in both directions south of Jacksonville due to dense smoke. They say visibility is zero, a hazardous driving condition that has led to several traffic accidents. Vehicles are being re-routed, and U.S. 17 is expected to remain closed through early afternoon.

Jacksonville Daily News


The Onslow County Sheriff’s Department has identified the deputy and firefighter killed after they were struck by a tractor-trailer on U.S. 17 this morning.

Gene Thomas, 52, with the Verona Fire Department and Deputy Steve Boehm, 36, with the Onslow County Sheriff’s Department died after a northbound truck struck them as the two men responded to a traffic accident. Deputy Bill Hall, who was also injured, was taken to New Hanover County for treatment and was later released.

Deputies and firefighters were directing traffic in the area due to limited visibility on the highway because of fog and smoke from what base officials said were the smoldering remains of gun range fire. Base officials said the smoke was most likely from a May 20 fire on Range R-6 in the Greater Sandy Run Area that occurred as a result of a .50 caliber machine gun shoot. They said the fire was reported to Onslow County Emergency Services that same day, according to Maj Nat Fahy, the director of Camp Lejeune Public Affairs. Civilian authorities, including those with the North Carolina Highway Patrol and the Sheriff’s Department, had said the smoke was from a controlled burn aboard base.

Capt. Rick Sutherland of the sheriff’s department said military officials requested assistance with traffic along the stretch just minutes before the report of an automobile wreck in the southbound lanes of U.S.17.

Boehm responded to that wreck while Hall and members of the Verona Fire Department responded to a separate wreck across U.S. 17 in the northbound lanes. After a vehicle came through the northbound lanes and sideswiped an emergency vehicle, Boehm crossed the highway to assist Hall.  Hall, who subsequently moved his vehicle to create more of a buffer for emergency personnel, noticed the tractor trailer’s headlights approaching as he exited the car. Highway Patrol Lt. Everett Clendenin told the Associated Press that charges are pending against 51-year-old truck driver Robert Lee Kornegay of Fayetteville.

Public Safety officials closed U.S. 17 south of Jacksonville between Dixon and High Hill Road for several hours in both directions due to the fog and dense smoke that emergency officials said reduced visibility to nearly zero.

Jacksonville Daily News

Categories : LODD, News

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