Man charged with DWI after firefighter killed in crash

Firefighter Robert Melvin Bryant Jr., 51, was making a turn when his pickup was hit from behind by a car; his truck flipped several times and hit a tree

The Fayetteville Observer

LUMBERTON, N.C. — A Fayetteville man is charged with drunken driving in a fatal hit-and-run crash in Robeson County on Saturday, the Highway Patrol said.

It happened about 10:35 p.m. on N.C. 211, three miles east of Lumberton, according to a report filed by Trooper C.S. Covington.

The victim, Robert Melvin Bryant Jr., 51, a firefighter for the Allenton Rural Fire Department near Lumberton, was traveling east on N.C. 211, the report said.

Bryant was slowing to make a right turn onto Bear Bay Road, less than a mile west of McKinnon Rollins Road.

He was between 300 and 400 feet from his driveway when a Chevrolet passenger car driven by Dennis Wayne Jones, 38, of the 500 block of Bravery Lane, slammed into the back of Bryant's Dodge pickup truck, Sgt. Phillip Collins said.

The car was traveling at a high rate of speed, the report said, causing the truck to careen off the right side of the road.

The truck flipped over multiple times and hit a tree, the report said.

Jones was out of his car when an unidentified woman drove up seconds after the wreck, Collins said.

The woman and Jones walked to the overturned truck and saw that Bryant was dead. The woman asked who was driving the other vehicle and Jones said he was, according to Collins.

After asking if he was OK, the woman called 911. By then, other drivers had stopped and Jones drove away.

The woman was able to identify Jones and early Sunday, he was arrested at his home in Fayetteville, Collins said.

Jones is charged with driving while impaired, felony hit and run and failing to reduce speed.

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