Media Scene

Larry Sprinkle hit truck at 35 mph, investigator says

Larry Sprinkle, veteran WCNC forecaster, recovers in his hospital bed last week from May 4 accident on I-485.
Larry Sprinkle, veteran WCNC forecaster, recovers in his hospital bed last week from May 4 accident on I-485. Courtesy WCNC

Veteran weather forecaster Larry Sprinkle slammed into a stopped pickup truck at about 35 mph, an accident investigator estimated in an N.C. Highway Patrol report on the May 4 accident released Monday.

Sprinkle, 67, said last week he doesn’t remember exactly what happened in the crash that occurred about 7 p.m. on Interstate 485, calling it a “mystery moment.”

In the Highway Patrol report, Trooper D.S. Powell said that Sprinkle was wearing his seat belt and shoulder harness when the accident occurred. A front airbag also deployed on the 2000 Buick he was driving, the report said.

Sprinkle crashed into the back of a stopped 2014 Dodge Ram owned by Bravo Construction Co. of Charlotte. In the report, the Highway Patrol said the driver of the truck was checked by medics but was not seriously injured.

Traffic was congested on the highway at a perennial rush-hour bottleneck approaching Johnston Road at Ballantyne.

Sprinkle was cited for failure to reduce speed.

Sprinkle, one of Charlotte’s best-known and beloved media personalities, just marked 41 years at WCNC (Channel 36).

“Traffic abruptly stopped and I didn’t,” said Sprinkle, in a statement released last week by Deborah Collura, WCNC’s general manager. “I don’t remember what happened.”

Sprinkle said he was returning to Charlotte after visiting relatives in South Carolina.

Rescuers had to use Jaws of Life equipment to extract Sprinkle from the car. He was hospitalized with multiple breaks in his legs, a broken ankle, broken arm and cracked ribs, Collura reported. Surgeons installed rods and pins in both legs.

Sprinkle, a native of Boone, first came to Charlotte in 1969 as a disc jockey on the old WIST. He worked at radio stations WRPL, Big WAYS and WROQ. In 1976, Sprinkle went to Channel 36. Researcher Maria David contributed.

Mark Washburn: 704-358-5007, @WashburnChObs

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