Troopers: 3 killed in wrong-way crash on I-485 near University City; 1 charged with DWI

CHARLOTTE — Three people were killed in a wrong-way crash that shut down the outer loop of Interstate 485 Sunday, according to investigators. Troopers charged the man accused of causing the crash with driving while impaired.

The crash happened on I-485 near University City Boulevard, and shut down the outer loop of the interstate from around 3 a.m. Sunday to almost 1 p.m. that day, according to the North Carolina Department of Transportation.

The North Carolina State Highway Patrol said a burgundy Chevrolet Suburban was driving the wrong way on the outer loop when it crashed head-on into a black Nissan Maxima that was driving in the left lane.

Investigators confirmed three people died at the scene and one person was sent to a hospital -- the Suburban’s driver was hospitalized and the passenger inside died. The driver and passenger inside the Maxima also both died.

The passenger in the Suburban was identified as 28-year-old Pedro Manuel Medrano. The driver and passenger inside the Maxima were identified as James Woodson and John Woodson, of Salisbury.

The driver of the Suburban, Richard Brent Dunn, 33, was taken to the hospital in critical condition. He was charged with driving while impaired, troopers said.

Local theater, arts community remember twin brothers killed in crash

Loved ones are clinging onto the legacy left behind by the Woodson brothers, who were well-known members of the local theater and dance community.

A family friend described James and John as a force to be reckoned with.

“You think of this really bright light and these fun, and hilarious, and comical duo,” Tod Kubo said.

Kubo said he mentored the twins through their love of the arts, including acting, dancing and anything on stage.

The twins also found another love in skating, eventually mentoring kids themselves and bringing them off the streets and into the arts.

“They loved completely, unconditionally and openly,” Kubo said.

He said their passion for the arts started more than a decade ago at the Piedmont Players Theater in Salisbury, where the marquee sign now memorializes them. He said they leave a massive void for everyone who knew them.

“It’s heart-wrenching,” he said. “I was so excited to see what they were going to do with the rest of their lives. It’s hard to say anything more than that. It’s a massive chapter that was cut so short.”

Kubo said he’s learning to live without the Woodsons and live more like them -- with kindness, compassion and humor.

“The spirit of John and James Woodson lives on in everyone that was lucky enough to know them,” he said.

The family of the Woodson brothers said they are finalizing funeral arrangements.

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