Drug use suspected in fatal wreck

Published 8:28 am Thursday, April 2, 2015

  • A Harmony man died from injuries sustained in a head-on collision on Bear Creek Church Road March 17.

    Zachari Daniel Cochran, 37, of Whispering Drive, was driving a 2002 Chevrolet Monte Carlo west near the Iredell County line around 3:55 p.m. when he crossed left of center and collided with a 2004 Freightliner tractor-trailer driven by Timothy David Peele, 27, of Linwood.

    According to NC Highway Patrol Trooper C.D. Hall, after the vehicles collided Cochran’s car went off the road to the right and he was ejected. He was not wearing a seat belt, Hall said.

    The tractor-trailer went off the road and jackknifed, but Peele was not injured. Hall estimated the speed of Cochran’s car at impact to have been 60 mph, and the tractor-trailer’s speed at 45 mph. The speed limit in that area is 55 mph.

    Hall said there is a slight curve before where the wreck occurred but the road is straight where the vehicles collided.

    “We suspect there was drug impairment involved in the accident, based on evidence collected at the scene and in Mr. Cochran’s personal belongings,” Hall said.

    That evidence included cocaine, a pipe suspected of use for cocaine, and Xanax, a prescription medication used to treat anxiety and panic disorders. Hall said when Cochran’s family was told it was suspected he had been using cocaine, they “were adamant it was meth (crystal methamphetamine),” not cocaine, that Cochran was using.

    Cochran was transported to the hospital and died on the way there or at the hospital, Hall said.

    Four troopers responded to the accident call, as well as the rescue squad and the William R. Davie fire department.