Local News

Dozens Injured In 44 Accidents Along I-40/85

Posted May 31, 2006 8:08 a.m. EDT

— Traffic was backed up for hours Wednesday morning along a five-mile stretch of

Interstate 40/85

in Orange County after a series of accidents involving 82 cars.

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    The North Carolina Highway Patrol believes heavy downpours that passed through the area and driver error contributed to the initial collision that resulted in 44 wrecks and 34 people injured, one seriously.

    The first of the accidents occurred at about 7:30 a.m. when a man driving a minivan struck a stopped Greyhound bus. According to state troopers, the bus was stopped as a result of an earlier accident that was blocking several lanes.

    The driver of the minivan was airlifted from the scene for medical treatment.

    Greyhound transported the passengers on the bus, who were traveling from Charlotte to Richmond, Va., to its Raleigh terminal to continue travel.

    Troopers are still investigating the accidents, but said they could have been worse.

    Crews spent about three hours cleaning up the scene before all lanes were reopened just after 11 a.m.

    Last fall, a similar accident occurred on Interstate 85 near Graham. Officials with the Highway Patrol said they looked at that accident and others across the state to see how they could improve response and clean-up times.