Sunday, December 18, 2016

Hundreds of vehicle accidents take at least two lives in North Carolina, many injured

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – With temperatures dropping below 30 degrees overnight in the greater Charlotte area, patches of ice formed on roads creating hazardous driving conditions.

Despite the Department of Transportation’s attempts to pre-salt the roads on Friday night, there have been 129 traffic reported crashes between since midnight, according to Medic. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Departments’s Traffic Accident & Roadway Obstruction Information reports two accidents that occurred last night were fatalities. Some additional accidents resulted with life-threatening injuries. 

The first was reported at 5:32 a.m. at the intersection of Shopton Road and Ayrshire Glen Place in the Steele Creek division. Upon arrival, officers located a vehicle that had run off the roadway, down an embankment, and struck a tree.

Medic responded and pronounced the driver, Humberto Daumont Sanchez, 43, dead on scene. The driver was the only occupant of the vehicle and no other vehicles were involved in the crash. CMPD confirmed that icy road conditions were a factor in this crash. Speed and alcohol do not appear to be contributing factors at this time.

The second fatal wreck was reported at 5:44 a.m. off of Westinghouse Blvd in the Steele Creek division. Upon arrival, officers located a Nissan Pathfinder that had traveled off of the road and had struck a tree. Medic arrived and pronounced the driver, Shane Dante Cornwell, 37, dead due to the crash. The CMPD Major Crash Investigation Unit responded to conduct an investigation. It appears that the vehicle lost control on a bridge due to ice covering the road surface and ran off the left side of the roadway. The vehicle then overturned and struck a tree. The driver was the only occupant of the vehicle and was wearing a seatbelt. The crash is still under investigation to determine if speed contributed to the crash.

The amount of crashes that occurred overnight was nearly six times the usual call volume according to Medic.

The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police department released a traffic alert just after 1 a.m. telling drivers to keep a safe following distance between their car and the car in front of them and to use extra caution due to black ice.

CMPD cautioned that driving conditions continued to worsen later into the night on local roadways, especially in South End Charlotte. CMPD even urged drivers that, if at all possible, they should stay off the roads until they improve.

NBC Charlotte's Diana Rugg spoke with one of the drivers featured in the crash below:

When speaking about the crash and the road conditions, Phillip Eddens said, "It’s put the fear of God in me... I’m gonna go home. I’m gonna stay in today."

A Freezing Rain Advisory is in place until 11 a.m. Saturday morning.