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Driver charged after Durham crash that killed 3, including retired Raleigh teacher

3 people dead in crash on NC 751 in Durham

Three people were killed in a traffic collision on N.C. 751 in Durham County Tuesday afternoon, the N.C. Highway Patrol said. The crash occurred about 4 p.m. on N.C. 751 near Kerley Road close to the Orange County line.
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Three people were killed in a traffic collision on N.C. 751 in Durham County Tuesday afternoon, the N.C. Highway Patrol said. The crash occurred about 4 p.m. on N.C. 751 near Kerley Road close to the Orange County line.

A 68-year-old man faces misdemeanor death by vehicle charges after the car he was driving was involved in a Monday afternoon wreck that killed three people instantly.

Edgar Cyril Brown of Stoneville was charged with driving left of center and three counts of misdemeanor death by vehicle, State Highway Patrol spokesman Sgt. Michael Baker wrote in an email.

Brown was driving his black 2017 Mercedes Benz north on N.C. 751 near Kerley Road when he swerved to avoid a bicyclist, overcorrected and traveled into the southbound lane.

He struck a white Cadillac head-on, killing three people in the vehicle instantly, Baker wrote.

Stephen Taylor Martin, 68, of Burlington, Mary Debnam Martin, 69, of Emerald Isle and Irene Taylor Martin, 89, of Burlington were in the Cadillac.

WRAL reported that the driver and front-seat passenger in the Cadillac were not wearing seatbelts. The rear-seat passenger and Brown were wearing seatbelts, the station reported.

The wreck was reported at 3:03 p.m., according to the Sheriff’s Office calls for service.

Brown, who isn’t suspected of being impaired, was taken to Duke University Hospital with serious injuries.

In an interview Wednesday, Christian Martin said his grandmother Irene, and mother and father, Stephen and Mary were in the Cadillac. He said they all lived together in Burlington.

Mary Martin was a retired teacher who taught at Brooks Elementary School in Raleigh, the son said. His father, who was also retired, worked for the State Auditor’s Office.

Irene Martin was very involved in the Burlington community, said Martin, 35 of Bethel.

“She was always on the go doing something volunteering her time, to help with various community events,” he said.

Irene Martin was “lots of fun,” “laughed a lot,” but “worked hard for the community,” said Jane Smith, community center supervisor for the city of Burlington’s parks and recreation department.


Martin volunteered as a receptionist at the Kernodle Senior Center in Burlington, Smith said.


Betty Flick was a longtime friend of Irene Martin. They both volunteered with a women’s group in Alamance County.


“Irene was a wonderful, outgoing person,” said Flick, 82, of Graham. “She loved the community, and she loved people.”


Virginia Bridges covers criminal justice in Orange and Durham counties for The Herald-Sun and The News & Observer. She has worked for newspapers for more than 15 years. In 2017, the N.C. Press Association awarded her first place for beat feature reporting. The N.C. State Bar Association awarded her the 2018 Media & Law Award for Best Series.
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