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.
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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.