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Wreck on southbound I-85 kills one

A wreck involving two trucks Monday morning left a Gastonia man dead and snarled traffic on southbound Interstate 85 near the Mecklenburg-Gaston county line, authorities say.

The wreck was reported about 5:15 a.m. on I-85 near the Sam Wilson Road exit, about a mile from the truck weigh station. N.C. Highway Patrol troopers say a tractor-trailer had broken down along the right side of the road. A short time later, troopers say, a Budget Rental truck being driven by Larry James Grier, 59, slammed into the rear of the tractor-trailer.

Grier died at the scene. The driver of the tractor-trailer was taken by Medic to Carolinas Medical Center.

Troopers say they are not sure why Grier's truck crashed into the tractor-trailer. Charlotte fire Capt. Rob Brisley said firefighters spent 50 minutes at the scene, after a motorist was reported to have been trapped.

All southbound lanes were closed for more than two hours after the wreck, but authorities were able to open two of the four lanes -- on the left side -- about 7:30 a.m. The remaining lanes were opened after 9 a.m.

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