Wrong-way driver accident shuts down I-40 in Orange County


Just before 4:30 a.m., authorities said they received several calls about a Honda Civic going east in the westbound lanes of the interstate in Orange County.

Caller: "On the westbound lane there's a car going eastbound and people are swerving and flying everywhere.

911: "What kind of vehicle is it?"

Caller: "I don't know. It's a sedan. The guy's going the wrong way man. It's ridiculous."

A short time later, a two-car crash was reported at mile marker 268 near U.S. Highway 15/501 in Durham and N.C. Highway 86 / Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard to Chapel Hill.

Caller: "There's a head-on collision, a car going the wrong way going south on the northbound side, north of exit 270. Head-on."

Two people, including the wrong-way driver, are recovering from their injuries. Troopers say the woman driving in the wrong direction has serious internal injuries and a broken wrist. At last report, she was in the ICU recovering from surgery.

Authorities believe the woman had been driving five to ten miles in the wrong direction before colliding with a pick-up truck that swerved to avoid the accident.

The North Carolina Highway Patrol is investigating the incident.

Westbound lanes of I-40 were closed for about an hour, and traffic was detoured off the interstate at exit 270 to US-15/501 North, then onto I-85 South, back to I-40. The accident scene was cleared shortly before 6:30 a.m.

This is the fourth such case involving a wrong way collision this year in the area.

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