Torrential rainfall and slick roads resulted in several vehicle wrecks in McDowell on Wednesday, according to reports.
According to McDowell Emergency Management, local agencies responded to at least 22 reported motor vehicle collisions throughout the county between midnight and 3 p.m. on Wednesday, some occurring back-to-back in the same hour.
At approximately 6:50 a.m. Wednesday morning, emergency units and law enforcement responded to the U.S. 221 bypass after receiving reports of a motor vehicle collision involving a tractor trailer.
When units arrived on scene, they discovered that the tractor trailer traveling southbound had slid on the roadway and struck the concrete barrier, crossing into the northbound lane and blocking north and southbound traffic.
As emergency personnel were containing the fuel spill, a gold 2003 Buick - driven by Brandon Maurice Gray of Rutherfordton - struck a fire truck responding to the first incident, entrapping the driver.
According to Trooper G.A. Tupper of the N.C. Highway Patrol, Gray was extricated from his vehicle and transported to Mission Trauma Center with serious injuries. Charges are pending in this collision, said Tupper.
Three additional crashes occurred in the northbound lane of the 221 Bypass subsequent to both previous wrecks; however, none of these incidents resulted in injuries. Additional motor vehicle crashes with no injuries occurred along U.S. 70 West, I-40, and N.C. 226 South throughout the day.
At approximately 12:50 p.m., Old Fort Fire Department, EMS, Rescue and NCHP responded to another collision on I-40 at the 73 westbound mile marker on Old Fort Mountain.
According to Tupper, a tractor trailer – operated by Danny Tipton of Morganton – was traveling westbound up the mountain when another vehicle merged from the left lane to the center lane in front of him. Tipton, merging from the center lane to the right lane, overcorrected and attempted to avoid a collision before jackknifing the trailer and colliding with the rock bank. In the process of coming to a stop, the trailer struck a black SUV and caused it to slam on its breaks, which in turn resulted in a rear-end collision with a white pickup truck behind it.
“I don’t know what happened,” said Tipton on scene. “I started to come around that other truck and just lost it. That’s all I know. I probably would’ve hit him if I hadn’t changed lanes. All I can do is say I’m sorry.”
No injuries were reported in this incident.