Driver in wrong way fatal crash remains hospitalized - WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC

Driver in wrong way fatal crash remains hospitalized

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A crash in Catawba County shut down the southbound lanes of US Hwy 321 Tuesday afternoon. A crash in Catawba County shut down the southbound lanes of US Hwy 321 Tuesday afternoon.

CATAWBA COUNTY, NC (WBTV) - The highway patrol says a Catawba man who drove the wrong way and caused a crashed which killed his wife one week ago remains in critical condition. 

A trooper with the North Carolina Highway Patrol said he has been unable to talk with Jessie Peter Buff about the events leading up the fatal crash due to Buff's medical condition.  

The accident happened August 18 on U.S. Highway 321 in Catawba County just prior to the overpass for Highway 127. 

Buff, who is 75, was driving his white 1995 Mazda Protege north in the southbound lanes, the highway patrol said.  However, Trooper B. L. Albert said it appeared Buff didn't drive in the wrong lane for a very long time.

Drugs or alcohol were not factors in the crash and Buff did not have any known medical condition which may have caused him to be traveling in the wrong lane, Albert said. 

Buff's wife, 71-year-old Daisy Mae Christopher Buff, died at the scene. 

The highway patrol says the Mazda in which the Buffs were in was hit head-on by a black 1995 Dodge truck driven by Howard Helton, 60, of Maiden.  Albert said Helton was traveling in the correct lane.   

Someone who witnessed the crash estimated that Buff was traveling about 55 miles-per-hour prior to the collision.

Helton's truck ended up on its side pinning him inside.   Buff wasn't pinned in the Mazda, but his wife was, the eyewitness said.

Jessie Buff and Howard Helton were critically injured and both were airlifted to Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte.  

The district attorney's office has not yet determined if charges should be filed against Buff.

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