Durham Stretch of I-85 Reopened After Fatal Accident
Posted August 14, 1997
DURHAM — Traffic is flowing again along I-85 in Durham, where a multi-vehicle accident left 3 people dead and 7 injured Thursday afternoon. A Life Flight helicopter responded to the scene where six cars and 5 trucks were mangled together.
An unidentified woman and her two children were killed when the mini-van they were riding in crashed.
Seven people were taken to Durham Regional or Duke hospital. One of the injured, taken to Durham Regional, is the husband of the woman who was killed. The family was not from the Triangle area. The accident occurred at 12:40 p.m. in the northbound lane of I-85 at the Cole Mill Road exit.
Police say the accident was triggered when one car spun out of control. Sergeant A.J. Carter of the Durham Police Department says speed may have been a factor in the accident. Carter's investigation is also concentrating on the possibility a driver may have fallen asleep at the wheel.
Maurice Thomas walked away from the wreck after an 18-wheeler pinned his Geo Tracker into a concrete barricade. Thomas says he is grateful to have survived the crash. He believes God was holding him down inside the car.
The pile-up appears similar to the accident last summer that killed eight people in a construction zone on I-85 north of Durham. The anniversary of that accident is next Friday.