Crash near I-40 in Statesville claims life of Reynolds Fire Department chief

Photo: Nathan Sales

A crash near I-40 in Statesville has claimed the life of the Reynolds Fire Department chief.

Troopers say Richard Sales died when his car went down an embankment and crashed off I-40 in Statesville Sunday morning around 9:30.

The fatal crash occurred on Wing Drive, a service road near the Old Mountain Road Exit, in the same area where a motorcyclist and the driver of a semi-trailer died in separate wrecks on March 31, 2018.

Troopers said Sales was traveling on I-40 Eastbound when he hit barriers in the middle of the road, lost control of his vehicle and continued through the westbound lanes onto Wing Drive.

Firefighters at the station say Chief Sales, the second chief in the station's history, was heading out to a safety conference in Wilmington for the week and planned to accept an award on behalf of the station.

He stopped by the station around 8:30 p.m. Saturday night. On Sunday night, the firefighting community is in mourning.

Sales was the Reynolds fire chief for 10 years, and worked at the station for about 30 years, taking over from his father, Bud, back in 2008.

Bud Sales was the first chief of the Reynolds Fire Department.

And that's a lot of why the members of this department are grieving, why the death has hit them so hard--because, they say, they're like family.

Chief Sales leaves behind a son and a daughter.

The cause of the accident is still under investigation.

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