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Authorities: Man Drove For 20 Miles in Wrong Direction Before Wreck

Posted March 1, 2007

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— Southbound Interstate 95 in Cumberland County is shut down after an accident involving a drunken driver and a tanker truck.

The Highway Patrol said Bradley Graves began driving his GMC Yukon northbound in the southbound lanes at around 1 a.m. Thursday. Investigators said Graves drove approximately 20 miles the wrong direction at 90 miles per hour.

Graves' vehicle approached a tanker truck, driven by Lewis Damon. Damon swerved to avoid a head-on collision and ended up overturning the tanker. Damon was not injured in the accident.

Officials with the Highway Patrol said they were alerted about Graves' driving and were planning on trying to stop him before he was involved in the accident.

Authorities said the tanker was carrying more than 6,000 gallons of flammable liquid. According to the Highway Patrol, less than 50 gallons of the flammable liquid spilled from the tanker. Crews were able to contain the liquid and clear it from the roadway.

Officials said the chemical liquid from the tanker is used in antiperspirants. The rest of the liquid was transferred to another tanker truck.

All lanes of southbound I-95 near the Hope Mills exit are closed to traffic. A wrecker is being used to try to right the vehicle and remove it from the interstate.

Officials said cleanup from the accident could last until Thursday afternoon. Motorists are being detoured onto exit 41to N.C. Highway 59 and back onto I-95.

Investigators said Graves was taken to the hospital with serious injuries, but he is expected to recover. He faces several charges, including driving while intoxicated.
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