Local News

One critically injured in I-540 wreck

Posted July 2, 2014

— One person was critically injured Wednesday afternoon after a three-vehicle collision on Interstate 540 North near the Interstate 40 interchange.

The accident happened at about 5:20 p.m. after a BMW driven by Nelson Figueroa, 40, of Raleigh, stopped with its flashers on while in a travel lane. Other vehicles were slowing down when a Honda, driven by Brendan Dowd, 23, of Carrboro, swerved to avoid the stopped vehicles and hit the BMW, police said.

The impact caused the Honda to veer into another travel lane and into the path of a Ford F150 driven by Jason Hughes, 38, of Raleigh, police said. The front of the Ford F150 struck the driver's side door of the Honda.

Dowd, the driver of the Honda, was extricated from his vehicle and hospitalized with critical injuries, police said. The other drivers and two passengers in the Ford F150, a 3-year-old girl and an 8-year-old boy, did not appear to suffer serious injuries, police said.

The Honda was a total loss, police said. The BMW sustained rear damage and the Ford F150 and boat trailer it pulled were also damaged.

No charges were filed Wednesday night but the accident remains under investigation.


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  • Kristin Byrne Jul 3, 2014
    user avatar

    View quoted thread

    There's more traffic on this stretch than people like to admit. While it's definitely not bumper to bumper, it would be hard to coast to the side of the road due to the speed of the cars on the road. It seems that 70 mph isn't the speed limit, but the minimum speed! What makes it worse are those people who drive slower in the left and middle lane, so people are using the right lane to pass. That's a recipe for disaster.

  • Linda Kerns Kellogg Jul 3, 2014
    user avatar

    NC law requires you pull out of the travel lanes before stopping, even when involved in an accident. Sorry to hear this young man has critical injuries, and hope he recovers.

  • allenmga Jul 3, 2014

    View quoted thread

    Bumper to bumper on this stretch of highway was a bit of an exaggeration but having commuted on 540 for the past few years, there's definitely a heavy flow of traffic during rush hour between 54 and 40 that could prohibit someone from coasting from the center lane to the median in a stalled vehicle, no doubt about it.

  • PowderedToastMan Jul 3, 2014

    Amazing how many arm-chair investigators here commenting as if they know all the facts of the situation.

  • Kristin Byrne Jul 3, 2014
    user avatar

    View quoted thread

    No such thing as bumper to bumper traffic on this stretch of 540.

  • T-Man Jul 3, 2014

    "hard to coast during rush hour with bumper to bumper traffic"

    I'm not jumping on the off-with-his-head bandwagon, but there is NEVER bumper to bumper traffic where this accident took place - between the Chapel Hill Rd and I-40 exits on 540. I've driven this exact stretch of road at least twice a day since it opened - there is occasionally traffic on the other side of 40 from here, but never on this side.

  • Imma Annoid Jul 3, 2014
    user avatar

    Anyone that stops in the travel lane of an interstate should be charged with Careless and Reckless, and any other charge relevant if someone gets killed.

  • miseem Jul 3, 2014

    View quoted thread

    I agree. Flashers should only be used in an emergency situation. This would include trying to get out of traffic due to a flat, engine failure, etc. but should not be used at other times. Also, any time you are on the shoulder at night, your flashers should be used. Too many roads around here are in need of having lines repainted, and at night, particularly in the rain, lane markers are almost invisible. In that situation, many drivers use tail lights as visual cues due to travel lanes being hard to distinguish. They assume that the lights are someone traveling on the road and will follow that car. If it is stopped on the shoulder with only tail lights, the following car may slam right into it. Flashing lights at least indicate something is wrong, but if you are in the far left lane, cars following may assume you are on the shoulder and try to pass on the left, running off the road. Bad practice, but it happens.

  • sinenomine Jul 3, 2014

    COMMON TATER, I'm real glad you've always been able to coast off the road and I hope your luck holds. Your experiences, however, are entirely anecdotal and in no way relevant to the experiences of literally millions of other drivers.

  • JAT Jul 3, 2014

    View quoted thread

    hard to coast during rush hour with bumper to bumper traffic