Local News

Wrong-Way Driver Collides With Tractor-Trailer

Posted October 10, 2007

— Part of Interstates 85/40 were shut down for more than five hours Wednesday after an accident involving a tractor-trailer in Alamance County.

The North Carolina Highway Patrol said the driver, Emma Hammos, 78, of Whitsett, got onto the highway from the Huffman Mill Road exit ramp after leaving a nearby IHOP. She drove her 1991 Cadillac the wrong way for around a mile before colliding head-on with a northbound tractor-trailer shortly before noon.

Investigators said the tractor-trailer driver, Ricky Outlaw, 40, of New Bern, saved lives with his quick thinking. Outlaw turned his truck into the median, avoiding hitting other vehicles.

Hammos, who drove a 1991 Cadillac, received minor injuries. Outlaw had no visible injuries, troopers said.

Two of the four northbound lanes were closed, and traffic was backed up for miles as crews worked to clear the wreckage.

Investigators said they have seen the exit and entrance ramps in this area confuse drivers before.


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  • justbnme Oct 11, 2007

    To all of the posters here that keep saying this
    elderly person must be stupid...get a grip. Ever
    consider the possibility that this could be the
    first signs of Alzheimer's disease?? All of us will
    be old at some point, let's see how your views change once that happens. You people are being
    so inconsiderate it's pathetic.

    And, sorry for you non-Jesus believers, obviously
    Jesus was there, or someone surely would have been killed in this type of accident. And quit bringing illegals into this story. Come on people it has nothing to do with that. Show some compassion. Some of you are the very reason America is becoming the way it is today. Praying that the lady's family will look into what may have caused this. And praying for both drivers to be OK.

  • 68_polara Oct 11, 2007

    Did you see that truck? This is why we should look into an umbrella insurance policy because causing an accident where a semi is totaled would probably exceed anyone's auto insurance.

  • oneday8035 Oct 11, 2007

    When someone is over 65 they should have to not only provide medical and vision clearance to drive but should have to take a road test every year. There have been too many accidents that could have been avoided if the elderly driver had been tested. I had to clip my mothers wings and was the devil child for a while but I had no choice. She was having little strokes and dizzy spells and did not need to be behind the wheel of a car when it happened. When I finally got it through her head that she would never get over it if she hurt someone else then I got into the will again. It has to be very hard for someone to give up driving but it is easier than living with taking a life.

  • ptahandatum Oct 11, 2007

    Well, jesus nor god came to the rescue, nor were they seen anywhere near the accident trying to help. Guess this proves once again they don't exist either. OTOH, Zeus gave everything he had to make sure no one was seriously injured in this terrible accident.

  • blessalah Oct 11, 2007

    She was in a 1991 Cadillac and survived, try that in your hybrid junk. -- johnmkramer

    its probably because she was insulated by all the grease and oil caked up on that USDM POS

  • Blue Splinter Oct 11, 2007

    78 years old high on sugar and having and insulin rush for sure.

    There comes a time when you must take Mom's license from her...for her own good and the SAFETY OF OTHERS!

  • FragmentFour Oct 11, 2007

    "Why is it that the people who drive the wrong way down the interstate almost always turn out to be old or drunk? Sad but true..."--Angry Girl

    Yes, it's true. And it's true because it's easy to get turned around, not be able to sort out where the ramp leads BEFORE it leads, or because it's dark. In this case, it wasn't dark. But the elderly and the drunk have fewer defenses against confusion than some others do.

  • bottleworks Oct 11, 2007

    There is no word on any charges. Charges NEED to be filed against Emma Hammos. Failing to press any charges undermines road safety.
    I don't care what her age is...Just what she did.

  • bkahuna Oct 11, 2007

    Then you shouldn't be driving on our roads...a "few close calls" going the wrong way is a few too many. Hand over the keys.

  • lynddsy Oct 10, 2007

    this does not necessarily have to be an elderly person or a drunk. i've had a few close calls myself. managed to not go wrong way but, close.