Police: Pickup truck in fatal wreck struck poles hauled by city of Belmont vehicle

The driver of a pickup truck that hit a tree off Wilkinson Boulevard on Friday, killing his passenger, lost control of the truck after it struck telephone poles extending from the bed of a city of Belmont vehicle, police said.

Eddie Ray Pullen, 47, of Gastonia, died in the wreck. The pickup’s driver, John Alexander of Gastonia, was taken to Caromont Regional Medical Center in Gastonia with serious injuries and was later listed in stable condition. The hospital had no listing for him Wednesday.

Belmont police released more details about the wreck this week, after an investigation with the State Highway Patrol and consulting the Gaston County District Attorney’s Office.

The D.A.’s office found no cause for criminal charges in the case, police said in a statement.

The pickup and city of Belmont vehicle were eastbound on Wilkinson Boulevard (U.S. 74), according to the statement. The city vehicle was in the right lane, Alexander’s in the center lane.

As the city vehicle began turning right onto Lincoln Street, telephone poles in the bed of the vehicle extended into Alexander’s lane and hit Alexander’s truck, the police statement said. The poles were secured and never left the bed of the city vehicle, according to the statement.

The statement did not say how far out the poles extended from the bed of the vehicle or how fast the vehicles were traveling. Belmont Interim Police Chief Basil Marett couldn’t be reached Wednesday.

After striking the poles, the pickup went out of control across Wilkinson Boulevard.

“This was a horrible accident,” Marett said in the statement. “Our thoughts and prayers go out to everyone that was touched by this unfortunate event. We appreciate the support of the North Carolina Highway Patrol in investigating this tragic accident.”

Joe Marusak: 704-358-5067, @jmarusak