Local News

Wrong-Way Drunken Driver Upgraded to Good Condition

Posted March 3, 2007 6:32 a.m. EST
Updated March 3, 2007 3:28 p.m. EST

— The drunken driver who smashed into a truck after driving 20 miles the wrong way on I-95 Thursday has been upgraded to "good condition."

Bradley Graves, 37, got on I-95 in Lumberton and drove north in the southbound lanes at 90 mph in his GMC Yukon. He began grazing vehicles and eventually collided with a truck in Fayetteville, according to investigators.

The tanker truck, driven by Louis Damon, 56, swerved abruptly and overturned, spilling nearly 50 gallons of cyclomethicone, a chemical liquid used in antiperspirants. Damon was not injured in the accident, and highway crews were able to contain the liquid and clear it from the roadway.

Greg Gibson was also on the road early Thursday morning. He was driving his brand new VW Jetta when he saw Graves' headlights coming toward him.

"I said, 'That car's in my lane!'" Gibson recalled saying to his father, who was sitting in the passenger seat.

With a transfer truck to his right and a guardrail nearby, Gibson had little room to maneuver. He swerved to the right and hit the transfer truck, which knocked his car to the left-lane guardrail. Neither Gibson nor his father were hurt, but the car sustained some damage. He is amazed no one was hurt.

"I hope [Graves] is feeling very fortunate," Gibson said.

Officials with the Highway Patrol said they were alerted about Graves' driving and were planning on intercepting him before he was involved in the accident.

"We had troopers scrambling to get to the area to intercept this car before a collision occurred," said Sgt. Joel Siles. "But we were unsuccessful in apprehending him."

Investigators said Graves was taken to the hospital with serious injuries, but he is now in better condition. Graves has been charged with DWI, reckless driving and driving the wrong way on a dual-lane highway.

This wasn't Graves' first time drinking and driving. Records show he was arrested in 1989 and 1996 for driving while intoxicated.