Six injured in accident caused by fatigue, officials say
CHINA GROVE — Six people, including four children, in a Connecticut family were injured in a single-vehicle accident on Interstate 85 Friday afternoon.
Two of the children had critical injuries, emergency officials reported.
The driver, Gwendolyn Shaw, 69, was fatigued and nodded off behind the wheel, said N.C. State Highway Patrol Trooper Stephen Marshall.
A little before 2 p.m. Friday, around mile marker 66 near China Grove, Shaw’s black 1999 Chevrolet Suburban drifted from the left southbound lane off the road into the median. She realized what was happening and overcorrected to the right, Marshall said.
The SUV rolled onto its roof once on the interstate and a second time into the shoulder. It came to rest on its wheels in a ditch off the right of the road.
Two children were critically hurt. Emonia Johnson, 6, was thrown from the vehicle and Efrain Johnson, 9, was partially ejected. Neither were wearing child restraints, Marshall said, even though one would have been required for the 6-year-old.
Shaw has been charged with careless and reckless driving and failure to secure passengers under 18.
She and her husband, Arthuly Shaw, 70, suffered minor to moderate injuries.
Their great-grandchildren, Treasure Kelly, 9, and Thomas Kelly, 11, were wearing seatbelts and were moderately injured. The Kellys and Johnsons are cousins, Marshall said.
Emergency communications also reported a partially amputated finger, but Marshall said he was not sure about that injury.
All of the vehicle’s occupants were taken by ambulance to Carolinas Medical Center – Northeast. The two Johnson children then were flown out to Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, where they were not listed publicly as patients Friday night.
Gwendolyn Shaw and Thomas Kelly were both treated and released. Arthuly Shaw was admitted in fair condition, and Treasure Kelly was transferred to Carolinas Medical Center – Main in fair condition.
All six people involved in the wreck are from Connecticut, but the most recent address listed for the two adults is in Smyrna, Ga.
Marshall said the Shaws were still in the process of moving from Connecticut to Georgia and had luggage in the vehicle.
Southbound Interstate 85 was closed Friday afternoon as emergency crews responded to the wreck. When the lanes reopened before 4 p.m., traffic jams still extended as far north as Peeler Road in Salisbury and as far south as Lane Road in Kannapolis.