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1 dead in U.S. 321 wreck in Caldwell

LENOIR -- One person was killed Wednesday morning in a multi-vehicle wreck that shut down a portion of southbound U.S. 321 in northern Caldwell County, the N.C. Highway Patrol says.

The wreck was reported shortly after 10:45 a.m. on southbound U.S. 321 near Richland Road, a short distance south of the Caldwell-Watauga county line. It is about halfway between Lenoir and Blowing Rock.

Troopers say the crash involved a tractor-trailer collided with a box truck, and debris from the wreck damaged a third vehicle. Earlier reports that a motorcycle was involved in the wreck were erroneous.

According to authorities, the driver of the box truck was killed, and a passenger in the vehicle was hospitalized with serious injuries. The driver of the tractor-trailer also was injured and hospitalized, but the extent of his injuries are not known.

The N.C. Department of Transportation said Wednesday afternoon that traffic on southbound U.S. 321 remains shut down. The DOT says it will be late afternoon before the lanes are reopened. Motorists headed southbound from Blowing Rock and Boone can take U.S. 421 from Boone to Wilkesboro, then follow N.C. 18 to Lenoir.

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