Crashes involving nearly 50 vehicles close I-85 in Orange County for hours

ORANGE COUNTY, N.C. (WTVD) -- Wrecks involving nearly 50 vehicles brought I-85 to a standstill Saturday in Orange County.

An ABC11 crew at the scene said several cars wrecked on the north and southbound lanes, backing up traffic for miles in both directions.

Several agencies responded to the wrecks, which shut down I-85/40 in both directions near Buckhorn Road for hours.

The Highway Patrol said it responded to the first crash at 6:08 p.m. The first series of crashes occurred on the westbound side. The second series occurred on the eastbound side.

One person was seriously injured, the Highway Patrol said. Several minor injuries were reported.

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Both directions of I-40/85 were closed until 8:35 p.m.

It is unclear as to what caused the series of crashes, the Highway Patrol said, but heavy rain at the time could have been a factor.

The Highway Patrol said that during heavy rain and poor weather conditions, drivers should follow a few tips to ensure their safety:
  • Decrease speed to match roadway/weather conditions.
  • Increase following distance, as vehicles require a greater stopping distance.
  • Verify your vehicle has safe tires, working windshield wipers, and proper lighting.
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