Two related accidents in quick succession on I-77 South at Exit 101 has resulted in one serious injury, a fire and the closure of the interstate, according to John Shelton, Surry County Emergency Services director.
The first wreck occurred at 8:56 a.m. when the driver of a tractor-trailer hauling a load of paper products leaned over to get a cup, causing her to clip the left corner of the cargo area of another tractor-trailer.
The first truck then traveled a hundred feet down the road before catching fire. Several other truckers freed the driver from the blazing truck. The driver was taken to Wake Forest Medical Center and two others refused transport.
Names of those involved and further information were not immediately available.
The DOT instituted “rolling roadblocks,” taking traffic in the opposite direction to clear the highway.
Following in the wake of the first accident, a four vehicle pile-up was caused by another motorist, identified by authorities as Georgianna Aust. She allegedly struck another vehicle “when traffic slowed down and she couldn’t get stopped in time,” said Trooper B.L. Cox of the North Carolina Highway Patrol.
According to Cox, Aust swerved her Jeep from the left lane into the middle lane and struck a Nissan passenger car driven by Jeffrey Turner, thereby propelling Turner forward where he struck a second Nissan passenger car driven by John Smith. Smith then lost control and struck the side of an 18-wheeler driven by James Derwinn.
John Smith and his passenger were transported to Northern Hospital of Surry for minor, non-life-threatening injuries. Aust complained of pain but refused transport. Turner and Derwinn sustained no injuries, according to Trooper Cox.
Aust was charged with failure to reduce speed to avoid collision with a vehicle. Cox reported no aggravating circumstances.
Though completely shut down for several hours with traffic being diverted to other highways and streets, one lane of I-77 South had been cleared for traffic by Friday afternoon.
Reach Bill Colvard at 336-415-4699.