Man hit by multiple vehicles, killed on US 401 in Garner, police say

GARNER, N.C. (WNCN) — A 53-year-old man walking to work was hit by multiple vehicles and killed at a Garner intersection Thursday morning, police said.

The scene of a fatal pedestrian vs vehicle collision in Garner (Lauren Haviland/CBS North Carolina)

The collision occurred around 6:20 a.m. at the intersection of Fayetteville Road/U.S. Route 401 and Purser Drive, police said.

A 911 call released Thursday included a chilling exchange.

“They keep hitting him?” the dispatcher asked.

“Yeah, they keep running him over,” the caller replied. “They keep running him over.”

Authorities said that at least three vehicles were involved in the incident and only two stayed behind. Police are looking for the second vehicle that hit James Demetrius Mims.

Police believe that vehicle was a Hyundai Sonata made between 2010 and 2014. Officials don’t know what color the car is, but they say it should have front-end damage.

Mims leaves behind seven children and 13 grandchildren.

He was walking to work at the Popeyes on the other side of U.S. 401 when he was struck and killed.

“He was an outgoing, self-motivated man. He made a 180 in his life out here working. He was doing it for his kids. He was trying to be the best father for us,” said Mims’ daughter, Janet Roland.

Mims’ other daughter, Kimberly Mims, wants the third driver to turn themselves in.

“We don’t wish any harm on anybody. It was an accident,” Kimberly said.

“My sister called me, and I didn’t feel like it was real,” she said. “It don’t seem real now. I guess I’m still in a state of shock.”

Mims will be missed at work, too.

“It’s going to be tough, really going to be tough. This particular restaurant is a tight-knit family some have been with us when the store opened four years so it’s going to be tough and we’ll reach out to the family to see if there’s anything we can do to help,” said Jerry Niswonger, Popeye’s owner.

It’s too early to determine if charges will be filed, police said.

“Anytime you have a large roadway and you have pedestrian traffic, you have a point where something like this can occur,” said Capt. Joe Binns of the Garner police.

Niswonger said there needs to be a crosswalk at the intersection.

“Something needs to be done there,” he said. “We got a lot of traffic on this road so I think there needs to be a crosswalk of some sort.”

His daughter expressed similar thoughts.

“If there was a sidewalk there, if there was a light signal to notify him when to walk we possibly wouldn’t be going through this right now,” Kimberly said.

The state Department of Transportation said that it cannot install a crosswalk since there are no sidewalks there. A spokesperson for Garner’s town government said there are no plans to add sidewalks there.

The southbound lanes of Fayetteville Road near Purser Drive were closed for approximately four hours.

“I just want everybody to know my dad was a great man,” Kimberly Mims said.

Garner police are asking that anyone with information come forward.

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