A rollover wreck on U.S. 52 south of Mount Airy early Saturday afternoon resulted in no injuries, but did result in a separate collision that sent a Pilot Mountain woman to a Winston-Salem hospital in serious condition.
However, the injuries to Brenda Debusk, 57, a resident of Mitchell Road, were considered Saturday by authorities to be non-life-threatening.
Debusk was operating a southbound Ford Expedition SUV that had slowed down along with other traffic because of the rollover crash that had occurred about 20 minutes earlier on southbound U.S. 52 near the Cook School Road exit.
The SUV was struck from behind by a pickup driven by a Wytheville, Virginia, man, which did not slow down in time, and that collision in turn pushed the SUV into the rear of a tractor-trailer.
“It worked out the best it could have,” said Trooper J.T. Selba of the N.C. Highway Patrol, who investigated. He explained that the presence of a “crash bar” on the rig, an energy-absorbing safety guard designed to prevent rear-end collision damage caused by tailgaters, was a life-saver.
“I truly believe the crash bar in back of that tractor-trailer saved this lady’s life today,” Selba said later Saturday afternoon.
The initial, rollover accident occurred at 12:18 p.m., according to the Surry County Emergency Medical Service.
Two people involved in that incident were not injured, but the story didn’t end there.
“It did contribute to the (second) accident,” Emergency Services Director John Shelton said. It occurred about 12:40 p.m. just north of the first after traffic on the two-lane highway had slowed because of that.
The southbound tractor-trailer involved, operated by a trucker from Raeford, was in the left lane and the SUV being driven by Debusk was behind it when struck by the pickup of Charles Stanley III, 50, of Wytheville, Virginia.
That collision forced the SUV into the rear of the tractor-trailer, with the brunt of the impact occurring on the driver’s side, pinning in and resulting in serious injuries to Debusk.
“She was taken to the trauma center,” Shelton said of Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center.
Debusk is the aunt of two children in the SUV, ages 13 and 12, who were not injured.
Stanley, the operator of the pickup, and his son also were unhurt.
Trooper Selba said Stanley had been cited for failing to reduce speed to avoid a collision.
Shelton said traffic was backed up for three to four miles on the southbound portion of U.S. 52 until the wreckage could be cleared.
Tom Joyce may be reached at 336-415-4693 or on Twitter @Me_Reporter.