Two men killed in a head-on collision Sunday were suspects in a moped theft, which occurred earlier that morning.
Christopher Archie Greene, 27, of Newton, and Brian Odell Lail, 30, of Hickory, were traveling in a 1990 Chevrolet pickup truck on Startown Road near Settlemyre Bridge Road in Newton about 1:45 a.m. Sunday, said Sgt. B.E. Hipp of the N.C. Highway Patrol.
Greene was driving the vehicle and Lail was riding in the truck bed, allegedly holding a moped that was stolen earlier Sunday morning from Legends apartment complex at 2113 21st St. SE in Hickory.
According to the Hickory Police Department, a neighbor witnessed Greene and Lail take the moped from the apartment complex and drive away with the moped in the truck bed.
The neighbor followed Greene and Lail in his vehicle, but later lost sight of the Chevy truck on Startown Road as the vehicle traveled at an increasing speed.
While traveling on Startown Road, Greene ran off the right side of the road, overcorrected and crossed the center line. He struck a 2002 Dodge truck, which was traveling in the opposite direction, head on.
David Allen Gilbert, 40, of Newton, was driving the vehicle and Teresa Styles Pendley, 38, of Hickory, was sitting in the passenger seat.
The Dodge truck was towing a boat, and Erica Hester, 33, of Hickory, and Marc Glover, 40, of Mooresville, were riding in the boat’s cabin at the time of the crash.
Highway Patrol is conducting a separate investigation of the Dodge truck towing the boat to determine the legality of riding in a boat while it is being towed by a vehicle. Hipp said he doesn’t know if charges will be filed.
Hipp said Greene was traveling more than 80 mph when the two vehicles collided, and the speed limit on Startown Road is 45 mph. Both Lail and Greene, who wasn’t wearing a seat belt, were thrown from the vehicle.
They were pronounced dead on the scene.