A Burke County firefighter was hit and killed by a suspected drunk driver around midnight Monday while answering a call about storm debris on a roadway.
Triple Community firefighters were dispatched to the site of a fallen tree that was blocking several lanes of U.S. 70 near the Drexel intersection, according to media outlets. Triple Community is about 70 miles northwest of Charlotte, near Morganton.
The firefighter was identified as Jason Keith Hensley, 40, according to the Observer’s news partner, WBTV. He died instantly, media outlets reported.
Burke County was under a tornado warning on Sunday evening, and a tornado was confirmed to have touched down around the southeast of Morganton in Burke County.
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Firefighters were in the process of clearing debris when a vehicle traveling east on U.S. 70 struck Hensley, WBTV reported.
The North Carolina Highway Patrol charged 58-year-old Randall Stewart with driving while impaired, driving without a license, reckless driving, not wearing a seat belt, possessing marijuana and possessing drug paraphernalia, reported WBTV.
Stewart allegedly struck two other vehicles that were parked at the scene, including Hensley’s personal vehicle, which had the emergency lights activated, troopers said.