Local News

Driver in fatal wrong-way I-40 crash charged

Posted January 21, 2018 4:33 p.m. EST
Updated July 13, 2018 9:56 a.m. EDT

— A 27-year-old man was charged Sunday in connection with a wrong-way crash that killed two people Thursday night on Interstate 40 in Raleigh.

Police said a Honda Civic with four people inside was driving eastbound in the westbound lanes of the highway at Wade Avenue.

Rupresh Uprety and Pricil Chundapurakal were killed in the crash. The other two people in the Civic were being treated for injuries at WakeMed in Raleigh.

The pickup driver, who was on his way to spread salt in a parking lot, walked away with cuts and bruises.

Authorities on Sunday charged Anibal Raul Ambrocio-Chilel, 27, of Raleigh, with two counts of felony death by vehicle and one count each of driving while impaired and reckless driving to endanger. He was being held at the Wake County jail under a $410,000 bond and was scheduled to appear in court Monday.

The Department of Homeland Security put an immigration detainer on him, saying that data on file and statements he made to authorities suggest he is either in the U.S. illegally or is subject to deportation.

A Durham County 911 dispatcher called the 911 communications center in Raleigh at 11:35 p.m. Thursday to warn them the Civic was headed toward Raleigh.

"I think Davis [Drive] is the last place somebody saw it, but they said it was flying down the highway, a dark-colored, older-model Honda," the Durham dispatcher said. "We don't have any of our officers that are in the area that are probably going to be able to catch it before it hits Raleigh."

Three minutes later, an eastbound driver called Raleigh 911 to report the collision.

"I was going one direction. They were coming up beside me on the other side of the road, and I noticed them, and then they hit somebody," the man told the dispatcher. "I could tell they hit something because I could see, I could see a plume of something, I don't know what. So, they may have hit the rail, but I think it was another car."

North Carolina Transportation Secretary Jim Trogdon said Friday that wrong-way crashes are a national problem, but the I-40 crash represents at least eight such collisions in the Triangle since last fall. According to the state Department of Transportation, there were more than 500 wrong-way crashes statewide between 2000 and 2016, with 145 people killed and another 643 injured.