A 76-year-old woman who had been reported missing Tuesday evening was struck and killed by a truck while walking in southbound Interstate 85 early Wednesday morning, police say.
Shirley Pharr apparently had wandered about 3 1/2 miles from her home in northwest Charlotte when she was struck by two tractor-trailers shortly after midnight in I-85, between the Glenwood and Freedom exits.
Investigators say Pharr apparently had become disoriented. Family members told police she was starting to show signs of dementia and had visited a doctor Tuesday afternoon.
Charlotte-Mecklenburg police had issued a missing-person report Tuesday evening for Pharr, saying she had wandered away from her home about 4 p.m. Pharr lived by herself in a single-story apartment in the 3300 block of Dawnshire Drive, in the Garden Park community off Beatties Ford Road.
A family member had taken her to the doctor’s office Tuesday afternoon and brought her back home. When another family member went to check on her a little after 4 p.m., police say, she was gone. Family members told police they thought she might be walking somewhere in the area along Beatties Ford Road, LaSalle Street, or Brookshire Boulevard.
But somehow, Pharr had wandered several miles southwest of her home. N.C. Highway Patrol troopers say a passing motorist saw a woman walking northbound in the center southbound lane. That motorist went to the next exit and turned around, hoping to help the woman. By that time, however, two trucks had struck Pharr, killing her instantly.
The drivers told troopers they couldn’t avoid striking the woman. The Highway Patrol says no charges will be filed in the case.
The incident forced authorities to close the southbound side of I-85 overnight. All lanes were reopened about 6 a.m.