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Union student seriously injured in head-on wreck

A Union County high school student was in critical condition this morning after her car was struck head-on by a man who was charged with driving while impaired.

According to the N.C. State Highway Patrol, Rachel Ann Wilson, an 18-year-old senior at Piedmont High School, was headed west on Unionville-Indian Trail Road near U.S. 601 around 3:30 p.m. She was following a 1998 Honda passenger car driven by Kayla Danielle Swinson, 17, of Monroe. As the two drivers rounded a curve, they were struck by a 1992 Chevrolet pickup driven by Fulton Clark Rape, 54, of Monroe, said Sgt. Don Hinson.

Hinson estimated Rape had been driving 80 mph in a 55 mph zone. Rape's pickup crossed the center line at the curve and clipping Swinson's car before striking Wilson nearly head-on at 70 mph, Hinson said. Wilson was traveling about 40 mph when she was struck, Hinson said.

Wilson was airlifted to Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte, where she was listed in critical condition Wednesday. Rape was taken by ambulance to Carolinas Medical Center and was in fair condition. Swinson, a junior at Piedmont, was treated at the scene.

Rape was charged with one count each of driving while, crossing the center line and reckless driving, Hinson said.

In 2005, Rape was ticketed for speeding. A N.C. records check found no previous DWI or reckless driving charges for him.

Staff researcher Maria David contributed.