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7 hurt in 4-vehicle wreck on southbound I-85

By Steve Lyttle
slyttle@charlotteobserver.com

Seven people were injured, including two who had to be freed from a crushed car, in a four-vehicle crash Wednesday morning on southbound Interstate 85 in north Charlotte.

The crash closed the southbound lanes of I-85 for nearly 90 minutes after the wreck, which happened shortly after 8:30 a.m. near the Statesville Avenue exit, police say.

The collision happened at nearly the same spot as a fiery fatal wreck five days ago.

Katie Rutland, a spokeswoman for Medic, says seven people were taken to hospitals, including two who suffered life-threatening injuries. Charlotte fire Capt. Mark Basnight said a crew of 35 firefighters worked nearly 45 minutes to free two people from a car that was involved in the wreck.

The car, a smaller-model Ford, was nearly flattened by a tractor-trailer which was part of the chain-collision wreck.

One witness told The Observer the wreck appeared to start when a car cut in front of a truck that was hauling PVC pipe. The truck driver slammed on his brakes, and a chain reaction collision followed.

A woman who stopped at the scene said the first vehicle in the collision was an SUV. She said a smaller car, apparently a Ford, then hit the back of the SUV. Then a tractor-trailer smashed into the Ford from behind. The cab of the truck ended atop the passenger vehicle. The fourth vehicle was a pick-up truck, which hit the tractor-trailer from the rear.

Rutland said in addition to the two people who suffered life-threatening injuries, another person was hospitalized with potentially life-threatening injuries. Four others were transported to hospitals with injuries described as non-life-threatening.

Six of those injured were taken to Carolinas Medical Center, and the seventh to Presbyterian Hospital.

Last Friday, a 47-year-old woman was killed when her vehicle was hit from behind by a tractor-trailer. That wreck happened on southbound I-85 near the Statesville Road exit. The N.C. Highway Patrol said traffic slowed suddenly, but the driver of a tractor-trailer plowed into the back of an SUV driven by Deborah Moss Suggs, of coastal Beaufort County. The collision triggered a fire, and Suggs died in the crash.

The Observer's Davie Hinshaw contributed

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