Two people are dead and five more injured following a serious car accident that police say was caused by a pickup truck traveling the wrong direction on an interstate highway. The driver of the truck and his passenger were killed in the accident, which also severely injured a family of five from North Carolina that were traveling through the area in an SUV.
Emergency response personnel say they first heard about the fatal accident at around 3:00 a.m. after the pickup truck collided with the SUV head-on. The resulting wreckage mangled both vehicles and made it difficult for emergency crews to access the bodies of the victims. They say they were forced to dismantle much of the vehicles, but felt that it was inappropriate to do so in plain view of other motorists of the highway.
Following the crash, police closed the interstate for more than seven hours as they investigated the collision, routing traffic through lengthy detours. This resulted in a backup of vehicles on the interstate and left some city streets clogged with traffic.
A police representative largely attributed the serious nature of the crash to its location. He said that a head-on crash on an interstate is "probably the worst of all impacts." He added, "Being the nature of the interstate, you wouldn't expect somebody to be coming at you from up an off ramp and entering traffic." He explained that the North Carolina family likely did not see the truck in time to avoid a crash. As of last report, none of the victims' names have been released as authorities have yet to notify their relatives.
Investigators are still trying to determine why the truck's driver was traveling in the wrong direction. They have been unable to precisely locate where the vehicle entered the highway and began traveling in the wrong direction, but believe that it did so for some time before the accident occurred.
Source: Herald-Dispatch, "Police investigate cause of fatal crash on Interstate 64," Curtis Johnson, March 10, 2012