A white Toyota Camry was traveling the wrong way on U.S. Highway 70 in Selma shortly after midnight Thursday and collided head-on into a tanker truck filled with diesel fuel and a minivan, according to the state Highway Patrol.
Emergency workers took the eight occupants of the minivan to Johnston Memorial Hospital for treatment. The driver the of the Camry was airlifted to UNC Hospitals in Chapel Hill.
The Camry driver didn't have any identification at the time of the wreck, so authorities said he wasn't easily located in the hospital's patient data system.
Authorities initially thought he had left the hospital without being identified because he was afraid of being charged.
But the man has been in the hospital's intensive care unit in critical condition since early Thursday, authorities said Friday afternoon. The man's identity remained a mystery, though.
Alcohol was a factor in the wreck, authorities said, and the Selma man who owns the Camry reported it stolen within hours of the wreck.
The Highway Patrol was reviewing the mix-up, and officials said they planned to question how the trooper handled the investigation.
The General Assembly passed a law in July allowing authorities to photograph unidentified drivers who have been charged in wrecks. The law takes effect Dec. 1.
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