Trucker killed in early morning wreck

A Lawndale trucker is dead after an oncoming truck struck him Friday while he stood on U.S. 321 in Hickory.

Harley James Stanley, 46, was driving a Davenport Transportation truck carrying mail. The U.S. Postal Service contracts the Georgia-based company for mail hauling. Stanley’s truck broke down early Friday morning near the River Road exit on U.S. 321.

He pulled the truck onto the roadway shoulder and called for assistance, said North Carolina Highway Patrol Trooper M.L. Liles. Another truck arrived on the scene shortly after to transfer Stanley’s trailer and assist him with connecting the trailer to the truck. The men connected the trailer to another truck, and Stanley prepared to continue on his route.

The trailer connection was faulty, however, and as Stanley was pulling back on U.S. 321, part of the connection broke.

“They didn’t get it all the way hooked up,” Liles said.

Stanley stopped the tractor-trailer in the middle of U.S. 321 at about 4 a.m. and got out of the vehicle to see what was wrong. He stepped into the roadway to fix the loose trailer connection, and as he was attempting to repair the connection, he was struck by an oncoming tractor-trailer. The driver of tractor-trailer was Jeffrey Little, 46, from Queen Transportation in Hickory. The truck hit Stanley on his side and then hit Stanley’s tractor-trailer on the left driver’s side.

Liles said Little couldn’t avoid Stanley or his trailer. Little was traveling at about 55 mph, which is the speed limit of U.S. 321, when he struck Stanley, and Stanley was thrown about 32 feet from the impact.

Stanley was dead when emergency workers arrived on the scene. Highway Patrol investigated the incident and determined no charges will be filed.

“It was driver error on the part of (Stanley),” Liles said.