Surgeon who caused head-on crash was 3X over the legal limit of alcohol, NC cops say

Charlotte Observer file photo

A North Carolina surgeon who caused a head-on crash on Interstate 40 had three times the legal limit of alcohol for driving in the state, according to media reports citing test results by the N.C. State Highway Patrol.

Dr. Lee Turner had a blood-alcohol level of .26, Sgt. B.L. Albert of the N.C. State Highway Patrol told The (Morganton) New Herald. The legal limit for driving in North Carolina is 0.08. A State Highway Patrol crash report obtained by Charlotte TV station WSOC also listed the doctor's blood-alcohol level.

Dr. Lee Turner, a surgeon with Blue Ridge Medical Group in North Carolina, was charged with driving while license revoked and reckless driving, after a head-on wreck on Interstate 40 in Morganton last Thursday night. A State Highway Patrol trooper said Turner was driving the wrong way when he hit another car "headlights to headlights." Blue Ridge Medical Group

Turner also was driving with a revoked license when he headed the wrong way on Interstate 40 at about 10:30 p.m. May 3 and hit a car head-on, the State Highway Patrol said.

The 41-year-old Turner is employed by Blue Ridge Medical Group and has privileges to perform surgeries at Carolinas HealthCare System Blue Ridge, the hospital said in a statement. "While this was not work related, he has been suspended," the statement said.

Turner drove for about a mile in the wrong direction before the "headlights-to-headlights" wreck, Trooper D.R. Lane told the Observer. While Turner was uninjured, the other driver, 18-year-old Daniel Reyes of Davidson, was flown from Carolinas HealthCare System Blue Ridge to Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte with serious injuries, Lane said.

Turner was charged with driving while impaired, driving while license revoked, reckless driving and failure to notify the N.C. Division of Motor Vehicles of an address change. He is scheduled to appear in Burke County Court on Aug 15.

Staff researcher Maria David contributed.

Joe Marusak: 704-358-5067; @jmarusak