Driver: I-40 collisions were like 'something out of a movie'

Posted March 14, 2016 4:25 p.m. EDT
Updated March 14, 2016 7:04 p.m. EDT

— A woman who was driving one of the 134 vehicles involved in a series of wrecks on Interstate 40 Sunday evening described the event as something out of a movie.

The first incident, which involved about 25 vehicles, happened on eastbound I-40 near the Jimmie Kerr Road overpass, in Alamance County, at about 3:30 p.m., according to the North Carolina State Highway Patrol.

As emergency crews worked to clear eastbound lanes, drivers headed west began to reduce speed, leading to several other collisions over a four-mile portion of I-40 West, troopers said.

"All four lanes were running into the back of cars," said driver Mary Holmes, who was driving from South Carolina to Raleigh. "It was like something you see out of a movie."

Robert Turner, a tow truck driver who responded to the wrecks, said he had never seen a pileup so large.

"We get 3-, 6-, 8-car pile-ups all the time, but we have never had one of this magnitude," he said. "Every time I went out to get another car...I would be like, ‘I am going to get called again because there is a lot of cars.’"

A Highway Patrol spokesman said wet roads, fog and speed were all factors in the collisions on eastbound I-40.

In total, 134 vehicles were damaged and 25 people were taken to Alamance Regional Medical Center.

"I am thankful no one was seriously injured," Holmes said. "Everyone got out of their cars, and this was the first time people were helping each other."

Troopers from Alamance, Guilford and Orange counties, along with the Alamance County Sheriff's Department, Graham Police Department and Mebane Police Department all responded to the area following the crashes.

Westbound travel lanes of I-40 were reopened at about 10:30 p.m.