HAVELOCK, CRAVEN COUNTY - Investigators have released the identity of the man killed in a head-on crash after an alleged high-speed chase in Craven County Tuesday night.
According to the Highway Patrol, Jeremy M. Banas, 41, of Newport, died in the wreck on U.S. 70 in Havelock.
Investigators said they received a call of Banas driving recklessly on N.C. 101 in Havelock Tuesday night.
The suspect then turned onto U.S. 70, where he crossed the center line and drove east in the westbound lanes as Craven County deputies and Havelock Police pursued him, troopers said.
Investigators said the chase ended at about 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, when Banas' Chevy S-10 pickup truck crashed head-on into a blue Ford F-350 driven by 63-year-old Charles Smith, of Havelock. Smith is a part-time officer with the Havelock Police Department. He was on his way home from firearms training when the crash happened, according to officials.
Banas died as a result of the collision, according to the Highway Patrol. Smith was treated for his injuries and released from CarolinaEast Medical Center.
"Seeing vehicles that can just crumble upon a head-on collision, it is amazing that [Smith's] okay, and that he will hopefully make a full recovery," said Smith's neighbor Amy Salter. "It's a disappointment and always a let-down when someone gets hurt due to someone else's negligence or carelessness. I feel for [Smith], that this is what was happening to him. He's a great guy."
Authorities said they believed alcohol was a factor in the crash.
"It's like playing with a cannon on the deck of a ship.," Salter said. "It rolls around loose, and it can hurt anyone."