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SPRING HOPE — A fiery Monday evening crash on U.S. 64 near the N.C. 231 exit in Spring Hope has claimed the life an Apex man.
Emir Trnjanin, 37, was leading a convoy of pavement-striping vehicles from Clark Pavement Marking Co. out of Apex to a job in Edenton when he lost control of his commercial vehicle around 7:14 p.m. The vehicle left the right side of the eastbound lanes and struck several trees before erupting into flames. Trnjanin was killed on impact.
Homeowners nearby said they could feel the impact in their homes.
“It literally shook the house,” said Robyn Reynolds of the Gold Valley community. “We heard a loud boom, felt the house shake and then saw black smoke.”
The crash closed the eastbound lanes from the Foymart exit at State Road 1737 to the exit at N.C. 231 for several hours while crews worked to remove Trnjanin and clear the wreckage.
The vehicle was partially on its side with trees supporting it and preventing it from turning completely over.
The vehicle had to be secured with chains in order to separate it from the trees so it could be safely removed.
Trooper Bachelor of the N.C. Highway Patrol said Trnjanin was the vehicle’s only occupant. The two striping vehicles following Trnjanin stopped safely, but the drivers were unable to assist their co-worker.
“Right now we do not know what caused him to lose control,” said Bachelor, noting that the wreck was still under investigation.
Volunteer firefighters from the Ferrells and Spring Hope fire departments responded to the wreck along with Momeyer Rescue first responders, the N.C. Highway Patrol, N.C. Forest Service and N.C. Department of Transportation.
As of 11:40 p.m. the highway was still closed and drivers were advised to avoid the area while cleanup continued.