Durham man dies, 3 others hurt in head-on crash near Wake Forest

WAKE FOREST, N.C. (WNCN) — A Durham man died and a 5-year-old boy was among three others hurt in a Wake County head-on crash late Saturday night, officials said.


The crash happened around 10:30 p.m. in the 4300 block of Mitchell Mill Road near Watkins Road, according to the N.C. State Highway Patrol.

The crash involved a Mercedes sedan and a Ford SUV.

The lone occupant of the Mercedes, the driver, died in the wreck, which happened after his 1988 Mercedes crossed the center line, officials said.

Frank Santamaria, 53, of Durham died at the scene, according to Trooper Marcus Bethea of the N.C. State Highway Patrol.

Three people from Florida were in the SUV and were taken to WakeMed with injuries.

Joshua Smith, 30, was driving the Ford SUV with passengers his son Jason Smith, 5, and Victoria Black, 34, all of Avon Park, Florida, troopers said.

The crash happened when Santamaria, who was traveling east, tried to pass a car in front of him, Bethea said in a news release.


At that point, Santamaria’s Mercedes was approaching the Ford SUV, which was heading west, troopers said.

The Mercedes then tried to move back into the proper lane, but the Ford SUV had already switched lanes in an attempt to avoid the Mercedes, according to troopers.

Both vehicles collided head-on in the eastbound lane of Mitchell Mill Road.

Smith and his son Jason were hospitalized with serious injuries.  Black is being treated for critical injuries.

Joshua Smith has not been charged with causing the crash, but “there were indications that Joshua Smith had consumed alcohol prior to the crash,” Bethea said.

Smith was charged with DWI and failure to use a proper child restraint system for the child.

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