Driver says uneven lanes on I-77 caused scary camper crash

MOORESVILLE, N.C. — The driver behind the wheel of a scary camper crash caught on our cameras on Friday blames the uneven road on I-77.

Richard Owen told Channel 9 by phone on Saturday that he though he was going to die.

“I thought that … was going to be the end of it for me and my wife,” he said. “I didn’t realize there was such a hump between the new and the old pavement. I went to get in the middle lane and as soon as I hit it, I just lost everything.”

The Owens were traveling from Massachusettes to South Carolina at the time of the crash, which happened near exit 33 in Mooresville.

The change in pavement levels is seen between the regular and express lanes on I-77, which just opened to traffic north of Charlotte earlier this month.

“I think it could have been avoided if they could just taper that tar down a little bit, so it meets the other road better,” Owen said. "It's not safe at all."

North Carolina Department of Transportation officials acknowledge the I-77 express lane project is behind schedule, but say improving the road is a priority. DOT officials did say that the difference in pavement levels is no more than two inches, which is within acceptable guidelines.

“One thing that worries me a lot is the drop-off,” Sen. Natasha Marcus, D-District 41, told Channel 9 on Friday. "I did hear from two motorcycle drivers who lost their balance on that drop-off."

Owen said both his truck and camper were totaled as a result of the crash.

Fortunately, however, the truck detached from the trailer and didn’t flip over. Both the Owens managed to escape the crash with only minor injuries.