Crash snarls traffic on I-85 hours after trucker dies in wreck

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, January 18, 2012

By Nathan Hardin
SALISBURY — Southbound Interstate 85 was shut down for a second time Wednesday when two cars collided, sending four to the hospital.
All passengers inside a Toyota Camry were taken to Rowan Regional Medical Center after a Mazda merged into their lane, sending both vehicles into guard rails.
North Carolina State Highway Patrol Trooper R.T. Coward said 56-year-old Timothy Ray Maloney, the driver of the four-door Mazda, was not taken to the hospital after the wreck, but was charged with failure to maintain his lane. He was the only occupant in that vehicle.
Coward said those in the Toyota Camry were 74-year-old Wilbert Lewis of High Point, Kevin Morgan of Georgia, and brothers J.C. Dogan and Henry Dogan of Georgia. They were placed on stretchers and taken by ambulance to the hospital.
Some witnesses reported that Maloney may have swerved out of the way of a cone on the southbound side when his car slammed into the 2012 Camry, Coward said.
The crash happened about 8:30 p.m. just south of exit 79 on I-85.
Several fire units, Rowan County EMS and Rowan County Rescue Squad responded to the scene Wednesday night.
Debris covered the road and emergency vehicles maneuvered through traffic and orange construction cones Wednesday night.
Traffic was at a standstill still for less than an hour before emergency crews were able to clear the two lanes for passing.
The other two lanes on the left side had been closed Wednesday while authorities worked to clean the area where the tractor-trailer hit.

A 58-year-old UPS Freight driver died in a crash that shut down
Interstate 85 Wednesday morning.
Garry Wilkerson, of Chesterfield, Va., was killed after he was ejected
from his tractor-trailer about 1:20 a.m., the N.C. State Highway Patrol
UPS Freight Spokesman Ira Rosenfeld said Wilkerson had been driving for
UPS Freight for more than 25 years.
Wilkerson was completing the first part of a routine trip from Richmond
to Charlotte, Rosenfeld said. After arriving, he was set to return with a
shipment to Richmond.
Wilkerson was killed when his truck ran off the left side of I-85 South
and struck a bridge that intersects with McCanless Road.
The 58-year-old was pulling two trailers, one of which fell to McCanless
Road. The cab and the other trailer remained on I-85.
Highway Patrol Sgt. K.L. Blakley said Wilkerson was thrown from the cab.
Blakley said the truck driver did not appear to be wearing a seatbelt.
Rosenfeld said the trailers appeared to be carrying mainly cigarettes.
The Highway Patrol shut down I-85 and detoured drivers onto U.S. 29 at
exit 79.
Fire officials had McCanless Road closed most of the day but worked to
get it open before nearby Hanford Dole Elementary School let out in the
Rosenfeld said several other UPS trucks were near Wilkerson’s truck when
the crash happened, but the trucks were not part of a convoy.
“Mr. Wilkerson was attempting to pass one of the other cars when
suddenly he hit the guard rail,” Rosenfeld said. “Whether it was a
driver error or mechanical error, we don’t know.”
Rosenfeld said he had heard reports that Wilkerson’s front left tire
blew, causing him to hit the bridge, but that he hadn’t been able to
confirm those reports.
He said Wilkerson was starting the first part of his trip and that he
did not believe fatigue was a factor in the crash.
The Highway Patrol is continuing to investigate the wreck.