CATAWBA COUNTY, N.C. — The Highway Patrol said speed was a factor in a head-on crash that killed three people Tuesday afternoon south of Claremont.
The crash happened just before 3:30 p.m. on Balls Creek Road near East Bandys Cross Road in Catawba County.
A 2013 Hyundai Elantra was speeding north on Balls Creek School Road lost control, overcorrected, crossed the centerline and collided head-on with a southbound 2015 Kia Optima, troopers said.
The driver of the Hyundai, Bobby Ray Payne Jr., 25, of Conover, died. He was not wearing a seat belt.
The driver of the Kia, Larry Ray Sims Jr., 43, of Kannapolis, was airlifted by a medical helicopter and died a short time later at Atrium Health’s Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte. A passenger in the Kia, Chasity Copeland Spears, 33, of Sherrills Ford, died at the scene.
They were both wearing seat belts, investigators said.
Troopers had the road closed for three hours as they gathered information about what happened.
Chopper 9 Skyzoom flew over the wreckage and saw a red car in the middle of the road and a black car off the road, both with visible damage. Debris was scattered across the roadway.
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