The man charged in connection with the death of a Triple Community firefighter made his first appearance in court Wednesday (October 11). 58-year-old Randal Hugh Stewart is charged with felony death by vehicle, driving while impaired, reckless driving to endanger, and possession of marijuana.
Authorities say a truck, driven by Stewart, hit 40-year-old Jason Keith Hensley, Hensley’s vehicle and then a firetruck. Hensley was reportedly killed upon impact. Officials say that Hensley and another firefighter were wearing reflective vests and standing next to vehicles when the crash occurred. Emergency lights were reportedly flashing. The incident happened just after midnight Monday morning, the firefighters were dispatched to a call for service for a tree blocking the eastbound and part of the westbound side of Highway 70 East near the Drexel intersection.
Jason Hensley's funeral will be held Friday (October 13) at 11 a.m. at the First Baptist Church of Drexel at 200 South Main Street. The burial is scheduled to be at Hillcrest Cemetery at 1121 Praley Street SW in Valdese.
Stewart was placed in jail in Morganton under $75,000 secured bond. His next District Court appearance is scheduled for November 1.