2017 crash near Odessa

The eastbound lanes of Interstate 80 were blocked in June 2017 as emergency crews responded to the crash near the Odessa Interchange.

KEARNEY — After nearly two years of being wanted in connection with the auto fatality death of a 14-year-old girl on Interstate 80 near Odessa, a North Carolina man is in the Buffalo County Jail.

Drew Davis, 38, of Gastonia, N.C., was arrested on a 2017 Buffalo County warrant for felony motor vehicle homicide of Rachelle Kort, 14, of Mitchell, on June 29, 2017. Davis was the driver of a semitrailer that collided with a car that Kort was a front seat passenger.

Davis was originally charged on Aug. 3, 2017, with misdemeanor motor vehicle homicide in the incident, and a warrant was issued for his arrest. In March 2019, the charge was amended to felony motor vehicle homicide.

Patrick Lee, a deputy Buffalo County prosecutor, said the state had probable cause to believe Davis was operating the semi in a willful reckless manner at the time of the crash and amended the charge from a misdemeanor to a felony.

On June 29, 2017, Kort was riding in a 2007 Honda Accord driven east on I-80 by Abigail Okoye, 23, also of Mitchell. Court records say Davis had pulled his 2009 Peterbilt semitrailer truck onto the south shoulder of I-80 and parked to look up directions.

As he tried to merge back into the eastbound driving lane of I-80 from the shoulder, the two vehicles collided. Davis was traveling between 15 mph and 20 mph at the time, and records say he didn’t see the car at the time of the crash.

Davis was released at the scene and a warrant was issued later after an investigation.

The investigation revealed Davis allegedly failed to yield the right of way to eastbound traffic, records say.

Davis was contacted by North Carolina law enforcement in February following a crash with his semitrailer near Peterborough, N.C. According to the SentinelSource.com, authorities learned of Davis’ active warrant after he was unable to brake his semitrailer while coming down a hill.

The SentinelSource.com reported the semi, which was hauling concrete, went over a roundabout median, across the westbound lane, over an embankment and ended up in a marshy patch. Police were called to the scene, although the crash didn’t result in any arrest.

Davis’ semi was taken out of service until the brakes could be repaired, said the SunSentinel.com

Davis is being housed at the Buffalo County Jail on a $10,000 bond. He is scheduled to appear in court in June.

kim.schmidt@kearneyhub.com

@HubChic

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