• Wrong-way driver caused fiery fatal crash on I-485, troopers say

    By: Blaine Tolison


    CHARLOTTE, N.C. - The inner loop of Interstate 485 near West Boulevard was reopened after being shut down for hours after two people died in a fiery crash caused by an apparent wrong-way driver, officials said.

    Troopers said at least three cars were involved in the accident near exit 6 around 7 p.m. Sunday, and one of the cars caught fire.

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    "The van was going the wrong way on the inner loop,” Highway Patrol Trooper Ray Pierce said. "(It) was involved in a collision prior to that collision, which involved three other vehicles."

    The driver of the van and a driver of one of the other vehicles, a Honda, died.

    Two other people suffered minor injuries.

    Pierce said the driver of the van may have been impaired.

    "The van continued traveling the wrong way, where it struck the Honda in the wrong lane of travel," Pierce said. "I-485, unfortunately, seems to be where the majority of these crashes are happening."

    No names have been released and the North Carolina Highway Patrol is investigating.

    Three people have died in wrong-way crashes on I-485 since the Thanksgiving holiday.

    "It could have happened to me and it's a shame that people don't take life seriously,” driver Malvin McCloud said. “Drinking and driving, whatever."

    In 2015, Channel 9 investigated a surge in wrong-way crashes on North Carolina interstates.

    Other states, including Texas, have reduced those types of crashes by making wrong-way signs more visible so impaired drivers can see them.

    Troopers said Mecklenburg County leads the state in wrong-way crashes, but the technology to prevent them is not being tested on I-485. It's being tested in Raleigh.

    Since 2015, the North Carolina Turnpike Authority started testing things like flashing signs on the Triangle Expressway, which is technology troopers would like to see on I-485.

    "I think at this point, anything would help," Pierce said.

    Troopers said that driving under the influence is the most common factor in wrong-way crashes on I-485.

    No names have been released and the North Carolina Highway Patrol is investigating.

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