Authorities Believe Fatigue Was Factor In Clayton Auto Accident
Posted May 10, 2002 3:14 a.m. EDT
CLAYTON, N.C. — Authorities are investigating an auto accident in Clayton Thursday night. Authorities believe the driver may have been drowsy at the wheel.
Authorities said an elderly couple was driving in a pickup truck on Highway 42 east of Clayton when they asked a Clayton police officer for directions. Authorities said the police officer told the man driving that he seemed very tired and tried to talk him into going to a hotel to rest, but the driver refused.
Authorities said that was all that they could legally do.
"There was no way for the officer to determine the level of fatigue that this motorist was experiencing, so under the situation, they did the best they could," said Lt. R.W. Bridges of the Clayton Police Department.
When the officer tried to lead the couple onto the right road, authorities said the pickup truck crossed the center line and was involved in a head-on collision with a tractor-trailer.
Chad Layton of the Clayton Police Department said a tired driver can be just as bad as a drunk driver.
"An impaired driver may speed up, slow down erratically. He may cross the center line or run off the side of the road," he said. "A fatigued driver will do those same things. Unfortunately, there are other vehicles on the road and that fatigued driver will injure someone else or himself."
The pick-up truck driver, 73-year-old Charles Motteler, is in good condition at Duke University Medical Center. His wife was treated and released from WakeMed.