Traffic

Rain-slick roads cause pileups on I-40

Posted July 29, 2009 5:26 p.m. EDT
Updated July 30, 2009 8:50 a.m. EDT

— A series of wrecks on Interstate 40 snarled traffic for hours during evening rush hour Wednesday.

The first wreck, just west of Miami Boulevard, happened at about 5 p.m. and involved 15 cars.

“It was a frightening situation, especially when you look in your mirror and an officer asks me, ‘What did you see?’" driver Jon Hughes said. "I looked in my mirror, and I saw a windshield coming at me and I said, 'Oh God.'"

All westbound lanes were closed for about 30 minutes as troopers worked to clear the wreckage, and get help to those who were injured.

“The biggest obstacles are traffic and our safety,” said A.R. El-Amin, with the state Highway Patrol.

A second wreck took place near Davis Drive, involving about 18 vehicles, including two tractor-trailers, N.C. Highway Patrol spokeswoman Julia Jarema said.

In each case, the pile-ups started when one car rear-ended another on rain-slicked roads, she said.

“It was raining pretty hard. I was braking, and it was just a dead stop. I managed to stop, but other people didn't,” driver Alice Taylor said.

Just one lane of I-40 was opened to traffic for nearly two hours, with troopers re-opening all lanes at about 8:30 p.m.

No deaths were reported in the wrecks, but several people were taken to area hospitals with injuries.

“Fortunately, praise God everybody was safe in the accident. When you pile up 15 cars, it is a pretty awesome blessing to have everybody safe,” driver Mikkel Thompson said.

No charges have been filed, Jarema said Thursday morning.