Two flown by helicopter to Vidant following head-on collision Tuesday night

First responders report to the scene of a head-on collision Tuesday night at the intersection of Highway 70 and East Chatham Street in Newport, which resulted in two people being airlifted to Vidant Health in Greenville. (Contributed photo)

NEWPORT — Two people with critical injuries had to be airlifted to Vidant Health following a head-on collision at 9:23 p.m. Tuesday at the intersection of Highway 70 and East Chatham Street.

According to Newport Police Chief Keith Lewis, a 2004 Volkswagen SUV, driven by Robert Eng of Bland, Va., was heading east on East Chatham Street and entered into the westbound lane of Highway 70.

He collided head-on with a 2015 Nissan passenger car driven by Brittany Cass of New Bern, who was heading west on Highway 70.

Both Mr. Eng and Ms. Cass were transported to Carteret Health Care, then airlifted by EastCare helicopters to Vidant Health in Greenville with critical injuries.

A third vehicle, a 2007 Nissan passenger car driven by Matthew Rimmer of Havelock, was following behind Ms. Cass and attempted to avoid the accident, but “his driver’s side got a glancing blow on the left front,” Chief Lewis said.

Mr. Rimmer was treated and released at the scene.

A fourth vehicle traveling west on Highway 70, a 2013 Hyundai passenger car driven by Maricela Gonzalez of Newport, also sustained minor damage when the windshield was hit by flying debris. Ms. Gonzalez was not injured, according to Chief Lewis.

The accident is still under investigation, with possible charges pending.

“We need to investigate whether impairment was involved and we can’t do that yet since Mr. Eng is still hospitalized,” the chief said.

He said both Mr. Eng and Ms. Cass have undergone multiple surgeries and still remain in critical condition at Vidant.

As well as the Newport Police Department, those assisting at the scene were Newport Fire and EMS, Morehead City Fire and EMS and Broad and Gales Creek Fire and EMS.

Editor's note: This article was updated at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 5, 2022, with a full report and a photo. 

Contact Cheryl Burke at 252-726-7081, ext. 255; email; or follow on Twitter @cherylccnt.

(1) comment


For the love of God, please fix that intersection. It's a nightmare to try and navigate when coming from E Chatham. Look across 4 lanes of traffic at an oblique angle, plus a left turn lane, with traffic driving 60+ mph. I hate adding more traffic lights to our morning commute, but this intersection is routinely dangerous if not deadly.

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