• Jefferson Weaver

Whiteville Man Dies After Wreck


The driver of a truck that crashed on Nov. 14 has died in New Hanover Regional.

Clarence Martin Benton, 86, was airlifted from the scene of the crash. Benton was passing two vehicles on U.S. 701 near the city limits of Whiteville when he encountered a 2012 Dodge heading south, according to First Sgt. Andrew Pait of the Highway Patrol. His speed was estimated at 65 miles per hours.

Kamara Haley, 33, tried to avoid the crash by swerving onto the shoulder. Benton’s 2017 Dodge truck sideswiped Haley’s vehicle, which spun into a ditch.

Benton’s truck then hit one of the portable signs marking the roundabout construction area and several trees before crashing in a ditch. Benton was ejected out the rear windshield, Pait said. He was not wearing a safety belt.

Benton’s daughter Billie, wife of County Commissioner Chris Smith, recently died after an extended illness.

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