Woman dies in Monday night wreck

Jul. 09, 2013 @ 04:12 PM

A woman died Monday night after the tractor-trailer she was driving collided with a Pontiac on U.S. Highway 74 at Secrest Avenue.

Martha Jane Evans, 61, of 300 Cartwright Circle, Wendell, was the driver of the tractor-trailer. Charles Edward Staton Jr., 31, of 2100 Confederate St., Monroe, was the driver of the Pontiac.

The tractor-trailer was hauling produce and traveling west on U.S. Highway 74 at the time of the wreck, which happened a little after 11 p.m. at the intersection of Highway 74 and Secrest Avenue, just east of Hilltop. 

Not long after impact, the tractor-trailer rig overturned and clipped a utility pole on the north shoulder of Highway 74, which pinned Evans into the wreckage. Evans was pronounced dead at the scene. The driver of the Pontiac was injured in the wreck and was taken by Union EMS for treatment. A dog that was riding in the vehicle with Evans survived the crash but fled the scene after attempts of emergency personnel to apprehend and calm the animal. Crews could be seen working into the early morning hours to clean up the scene. Utility crews were on hand to replace the broken utility pole and restore power. As of 4 a.m. Tuesday, crews were still working to clean up the roadway.

“She (Evans) was a very God-fearing person, very caring, she really loved the truck driving job,” Sam Dancer, Evans’ grandson said.

His father notified him about the wreck and his grandmother’s death Tuesday morning. She lived in Wendell and owned Evans Express. She had been a truck driver about 10 years, Dancer said.

He is not certain where she was traveling to Monday night and only knows that she was hauling produce at the time. The dog that was riding in the truck with her was a Miniature Pinscher named Star that his grandmother had had for a long time and often rode around with her, Dancer said.

“She had him since he was a puppy, probably more than nine years,” he said.

His grandmother celebrated her birthday earlier this month and will be very missed, he said.

“We’ll all miss her a lot, she had a lot of friends and a lot of family,” he said.

The wreck is still being investigated, Lt. Bobby Manus of the Monroe Police Department said.

Diesel fuel leaked from the truck after the collision, which was cleaned up along with the rest of the wreckage afterwards. Crews worked throughout the night and the early morning hours to clear the roadway. The road was reopened around 7:30 a.m. Tuesday. As of Tuesday afternoon, to his knowledge, Evans’ dog had not been found, Manus said.

Anyone with additional information about the wreck or the missing dog can contact the Monroe Police Department at 704-282-4700.