Local News

Response to Fatal I-95 Wreck Questioned

Posted December 12, 2006 6:22 p.m. EST
Updated December 12, 2006 6:54 p.m. EST

— The state Highway Patrol was under fire Tuesday after a South Carolina couple was found dead in a car off Interstate 95 several days after an accident involving their car was reported.

Wayne Anthony Guay, 57, and Dianne Guay, 55, of Myrtle Beach, S.C., were found Monday inside their white Mazda in a swampy area located between mile markers 139 and 140 on I-95 in Nash County.

The Guays, who were on their way to visit family members in Queens, N.Y., for an early holiday, had been reported missing last Thursday.

In a call to Nash County 911 shortly before 7:30 a.m. last Thursday, a passing motorist reported seeing a car drive off the interstate and into the water.

"I just passed exit 141 and in between where (U.S. Highway) 64 connects with 95 at exit 141. There is a car in the ditch," the caller said. "There's a car in the ditch. It's in the swamp area, lights on and everything."

The Highway Patrol, a rescue squad and the Nash County Sheriff's Department searched up and down I-95 from mile marker 138 to mile marker 141 but couldn't find anything.

"They were unable to locate (it), not seeing any evidence on the roadway of the crash or seeing off the roadway," said Lt. Everett Clendenin of the Highway Patrol.

The car was found four days later by a state Department of Transportation worker between mile markers 139 and 140 in a swamp area.

The Guays' son-in-law said Tuesday that the outcome might have been different had authorities searched longer and harder for the two retirees.

Mike Liendo said the family is upset after hearing the tape of the 911 call in which the motorist specifically mentioned that the car ran off the road into water and could be seen from the road.

Clendenin said the state trooper that responded to the call followed procedures.

"It would have been helpful had someone been there to direct us to where the vehicle had left the roadway. We didn't have that," he said.

The Highway Patrol is talking with the motorist who called 911, but they don't plan to charge him with leaving the scene of an accident, Clendenin said.