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Durham Police Charge Driver In Freeway Accident With DWI

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DURHAM, NC — Durham Police have charged the driver that caused a three-car accident Thursday with driving while impaired.

The Durham Freeway reopened around noon Thursday, after being closed for three hours as the result of the accident near the LaSalle Street overpass that injured four people.

Police say a 1998 Oldsmobile Intrigue driven by James Alexander Watson of Durham was traveling north on Highway 147 when it crossed the median into the southbound lanes.

The Oldsmobile then crashed into an 1987 Nissan, driven by Mohamed Benhamed of Durham. As a result of that impact,the Nissan split in half just behind the front seats.

The Oldsmobile then continued on southbound Highway 147 when it hit a Honda Accord driven by Beleather Fisher III of Havelock.

All of the people involved in the accident were taken to Duke Medical Center. As of Friday afternoon, Benhamed was listed in fair condition. He sustained multiple internal injuries with a secondary head injury. His cousin, AbdelaliBenhamed, who was also in the Nissan, was treated for multiple non-life threatening injuries and released.

Fisher is also being treatedfor multiple non-life threatening injuries and is in good condition.

Watson was taken into custody by Durham policeofficers and charged with driving while impaired.

Police say the cause of this incident is believed to be a combination of an erratic lane change maneuver by Watson, combined with his admission that he had dropped his cell phone and was attempting to retrieve it. They say he was also attempting to pass another vehicle in traffic and was very close to the exit he wished to use.