A 24-year-old driver has been indicted nearly six weeks after he crashed into a home propane tank in Fallston, setting off an explosion that killed the couple who lived there.
Cleveland County officials say a truck crashed into a propane tank at the couple’s home off East Stagecoach Trail in late February.
The couple, 74-year-old Johnie “J.B.” Newton and 76-year-old Naomi Newton, were inside at the time of the explosion. The Newtons were able to escape, but later died from injuries sustained in the explosion.
State officials said a 1997 GMC pickup driven by Thomas Pruitt crossed the center line, hit the shoulder of the roadway and crashed into the home, causing the propane gas tank to rupture and explode.
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Tuesday morning, Pruitt was indicted on two counts of misdemeanor death by vehicle.
Pruitt went to the hospital after the crash, but was released a short time later, according to WBTV, the Observer’s news partner.
Neighbors who ran to the scene to help said Pruitt spoke with them.
“The driver stated when I got to him at the road he fell asleep at the wheel,” the neighbor said. ‘“I fell asleep, oh God. I fell asleep,’” one neighbor told WBTV.