Police have released the name of the tractor driver killed when a pickup truck hit the mower/tractor on Highway 24 in Jacksonville.
Jacksonville Police say James Harold Morton, 44, of Jacksonville was killed in the crash that happened just before 8 a.m. on Highway 24 EB near the interchange with Highway 17.
Police say a truck driven by Ashley Nicole Parker, 24, of Richlands, was heading east on Highway 24 when Parker hit a large commercial mower being towed by a tractor that was in transport from New River Air Station to Camp Lejeune. Police say the crash threw Morton from the tractor which then flipped over on top of him.
Police say Morton was an employee of Coastal Enterprises. Coastal Enterprises does landscaping at Camp Lejeune.
A co-worker of Morton's said all Coastal Enterprises employees were released from work early Friday to deal with the loss. He said that Morton will be missed. "He was a caring man," co-worker Clint Parrish said. "He cared about his job and the quality of his work."
Parker was transported to Onslow Memorial Hospital with non-life threatening injuries. She has been cited for Failure to Reduce Speed to Avoid a Collision and Misdemeanor Death by Motor Vehicle.
“Neither speed nor alcohol appear to be factors in this crash,” said Lt. Sean Magill, JPD Field Operations Supervisor. The crash investigation remains open pending results from the Medical Examiner’s Office.
Both eastbound lanes of Highway 24 were closed for almost three hours but have since reopened.