Lexington teen has close encounter with tractor-trailer

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 2, 2009

By Shavonne Potts
A Lexington teenager walked away from a two-vehicle collision Friday morning after his car overturned and landed in an embankment on the interstate.
The wreck happened in the northbound lane of I-85 near mile marker 65 around 10:07 a.m.
James Conklin, 47, of Charlotte, was operating a tractor trailer for United Rentals, when he merged into another lane in the path of a 1998 Nissan.
Francisco Gutierrez, 17, of Lexington, was driving that Nissan. Also in his car was a 22-year-old passenger, Marcas Gutierrez.
North Carolina Highway Patrol Trooper D.H. Deal said the vehicle ran off the right side of the road and down the embankment. The vehicle overturned.
“The vehicle was in the blind spot of the tractor trailer,” Deal said.
Both Francisco and Marcas Gutierrez were not injured. They managed to get out of the vehicle on their own, Deal said. Conklin also was not injured.
Conklin was charged with failure to ascertain lane change safely. Gutierrez was also charged with not having an operators license.
The trooper said traffic was tied up for a short period of time, mostly because people were stopping or slowing down to look at the wreck.
“We had several close calls because they were looking,” Deal said.
In addition to the highway patrol, Bostian Heights Fire Department, Rowan Rescue Squad and Rowan EMS responded to the scene.