Geese touch off I-485 wreck

A driver trying to avoid hitting a flock of geese touched off a multi-vehicle wreck on Interstate 485 in south Charlotte on Sunday, police said.

Four people were taken to the hospital, including two with serious injuries. The wreck occurred around 9:46 a.m. near South Boulevard.

The N.C. Highway Patrol said the driver of a Ford Taurus station wagon saw the Canada geese in the interstate and slowed his car down to about 15-20 mph. That's when authorities said his car was rear-ended by a Nissan Altima, which was then hit by a motorcycle. The driver of a fourth vehicle, a minivan, tried to avoid hitting the motorcycle and was struck by the sedan.

The motorcyclist, Benjamin Oliff of Charlotte, and his wife were taken to Carolinas Medical Center. Oliff suffered a severely broken wrist, while his wife had a broken femur and broken bones in her pelvis, said Highway Patrol Sgt. Ben Miller.

The Altima driver, Cecil Jones of Georgia, and his child were taken to CMC-Pineville, but were not seriously injured.

Oliff and Jones were charged with failure to reduce speed, common with rear-end collisions. The driver of the station wagon isn't facing charges, said Trooper R.A. Benge.

Troopers said it could have been a lot worse. “I understand the sympathy in trying to (avoid animals), but it's not good to try to stop in the middle of the interstate,” Miller said. “It's better to hit the animal than to cause a vehicle collision where you could hurt other people.”

As for the geese? They weren't hurt and witnesses said they didn't stay around long.