CHARLOTTE, N.C. - The outer loop of Interstate 485 in west Charlotte was blocked for hours Wednesday morning while the Highway Patrol investigated a deadly crash involving a wrong-way driver.
According to troopers, a man driving a black sedan was spotted around 3:42 a.m. traveling southbound in the northbound lanes of Interstate 85 near Sam Wilson Road.
Shortly afterward, the driver exited I-85 onto I-485, still headed the wrong way on the outer loop and collided head-on with a tractor-trailer near Moores Chapel Road, troopers said.
Channel 9 crews on the scene could see the car and tractor-trailer, both with heavy front-end damage.
Troopers said the driver of the car was killed. His name has not been released.
The driver of the tractor-trailer was taken to the hospital to be checked out but troopers said she was released later Wednesday morning.
She told investigators that she saw the wrong-way driver's headlights coming straight at her and tried to swerve to avoid the impact, but the other driver swerved as well and they collided.
"Fortunate for her, she was in a larger vehicle, which definitely saved her life," said Trooper Ray Pierce
Troopers told Channel 9 they found several open containers in the car and were still investigating if the driver was impaired.
The outer lanes were reopened by 8:30 a.m.
Pierce said there were six wrong-way crashes on I-485 that killed several people last year. He said in most cases, the drivers were impaired.
"This is our first wrong-way driver this year," Pierce said. "We're hoping these statistics hold true the rest of the year."
The Highway Patrol has already stepped up DWI patrols on I-485 on Friday and Saturday nights and even stopped a few drivers going the wrong way.
"We're hoping with the efforts of increased enforcement that it's possibly caused this reduction," Pierce said.
Check back with wsoctv.com for updates on this story.
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