2 dead in N.C. 127 crashes

Two people died since Friday in two different crashes on N.C. 127.
The latest crash occurred Monday half a mile north of Cloninger Mill Road in Hickory.
Danny Lynn Barnette, 57, of Granite Falls, was traveling north on N.C. 127 about 11 a.m. when he crossed the center line and collided head on with a 2002 Chevrolet pickup truck traveling in the opposite direction, according to N.C. Highway Patrol Trooper J.S. Swagger.
A 2001 Buick sedan failed to reduce speed immediately after the crash and rear-ended the pickup truck, driven by Todd Punch, 39, of Newton. The truck was towing a trailer.
Barnette and Punch, who were wearing their seat belts, were pinned into their vehicles because of the collisions and were extracted by emergency workers.
Barnette was pronounced dead at the scene. Punch was transported by ambulance to Catawba Valley Medical Center then airlifted to Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte. Swagger said Punch's injuries were serious. Punch wasn't listed Monday evening as a patient at CMC in Charlotte.
The driver of the Buick, Rhonda Eckard, 53, of Hickory, was cited for failing to reduce speed because of her rear-end collision with Punch's vehicle, Swagger said.
Swagger doesn't expect any additional charges in the incident. Although Swagger is unsure what caused Barnette to cross the center line, he said he doesn't think alcohol or drugs were a factor in the collision.
Swagger doesn't know of any witnesses to the crash, and he said the case is closed unless further details emerge in the incident.
Barnette's vehicle sustained $7,000 in damage. Damage to Punch and Eckard's vehicles is estimated at $13,000 and $4,000, respectively.
Another fatal crash occurred Friday at 8:54 p.m. at the intersection of N.C. 127 and Cloninger Mill Road, according to the Hickory Police Department.
John Nye, 41, of Hickory, attempted to turn left from N.C. 127 onto Cloninger Mill Road. He was driving a TMEC mo-ped.
As Nye attempted to turn, he was struck by a 2006 Nissan Altima, driven by Kyle Nowak, 26, of Hickory. Nowak was traveling north on N.C. 127.
Nye was ejected from the mo-ped and was transported to Frye Regional Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead from his injuries.
Hickory Police Department's Traffic Safety Unit continued Monday investigating the crash, according to HPD spokeswoman Libby Grigg. No charges have been filed in the incident.