by Sam Hieb
Latoya Marquita Simmons, 23, of Graves Avenue, was killed when a pickup truck slammed into the minivan she had been riding in after she left the vehicle to offer assistance in a wreck spotted along Interstates 40/85 northbound near Rock Creek Dairy Road in eastern Guilford County.
The accident occurred just after 1 a.m. Sunday, according to the N.C. State Highway Patrol. Simmons and the driver of the minivan, who was not identified by the Highway Patrol, spotted a 1999 Oldsmobile passenger car stopped in the emergency lane off the left side of the interstate against the highway’s concrete median barrier, said Highway Patrol Sgt. C.J. Slemenda.
The Oldsmobile had crashed moments earlier after the driver, Aviance McCollum, 28, of Oak Street in Greensboro, lost control of the car while driving at a high rate of speed and slammed into the barrier, Slemenda said. There were six children between ages 3 and 10 in the car.
“When they came up on the scene, the six kids were piling out of the car on to the interstate, so they stopped in the left travel lane and exited the vehicle to try to snatch up some of the kids to keep them from going into the road,” Slemenda said. The minivan driver told investigators she thought she had pulled the vehicle on to the emergency lane, but evidence from the scene indicated it was stopped in the far left lane of the interstate, Slemenda said.