Last Sunday afternoon, two Fleetwood residents died in a vehicle accident on Brownwood Road in Deep Gap, North Carolina (N.C.). According to Trooper D. Searcy of the NC Highway Patrol, a 1994 Dodge work van, which was carrying a total of 14 passengers, including the driver, was traveling south on Brownwood Road at approximately 1 p.m.
As the van approached a curve, the van’s driver, 24-year-old Jose Valles of Fleetwood, lost control of the vehicle as it drifted left of the center line, Searcy said. When Valles attempted to straighten the van out he steered to right side of the roadway and overcorrected. The van dropped to the shoulder of the highway and came back onto the roadway before flipping three times, Searcy said.
When authorities arrived on the scene, they discovered that two of the passengers had been ejected from the van. Pronounced dead at the scene was 40-year-old Marcial Munoz. Antonio Martinez, 27, was transported to Johnson City Medical Center by Wings Air where he later died as a result of the injuries that he sustained. Searcy said that the deceased shared a residence with Valles in the Fleetwood community.
Authorities do not believe that Munoz or Martinez were wearing their safety belts at the time of the accident. “When I came to the back of the van it was pretty mangled up,” Searcy said. None of the passengers riding in the rear of the van were believed to be wearing their seat belts when the van flipped. Searcy stated that the work van could legally transport a total of 16 passengers. Eight other passengers were treated and later released at Watauga Medical Center.