Local News

Driver charged with DWI in wreck on 15-501

Posted July 28, 2008 11:18 a.m. EDT
Updated July 29, 2008 11:27 a.m. EDT

— Durham police have identified the driver whose recklessness caused the closure of northbound U.S. Highway 15-501.

Miguel Angel Pina Mata, 34, of Pinegate Circle, was charged with DWI, careless and reckless driving and possession of an open container of alcohol, Durham Police spokeswoman Kammie Michael said Monday.

Mata and his passenger, Ector Cantu Chavez, were treated at Duke University Hospital after the wreck destroyed a guardrail along northbound U.S. Highway 15-501 over Cornwallis Road.

According to witnesses, Mata swerved across both lanes of traffic, hit the guardrail and spun around. Police believe he was traveling about 90 mph at the time of the crash.

Officials from the N.C. Department of Transportation surveyed the damage and removed a 20-foot section of the concrete guardrail. The outer northbound lane of U.S. Highway 15-501 will remain closed during repairs, which should be completed sometime Tuesday evening.

Without the guardrail, a DOT spokesman said, there is nothing to prevent a vehicle from driving off the highway and falling onto Cornwallis Road below.

"We're going to be doing an evaluation and assessment of the damage," a DOT engineer said Monday morning. "And we'll be doing a demolition of the damaged portion to clean up the area."