Video shows car slam into tractor-trailer on I-77 in Charlotte, troopers urge drivers to slow down

Updated: May. 5, 2021 at 9:11 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Tesla owner Ben O’Morrow said he was traveling down I-77 toward Pineville Monday when he witnessed a wreck just feet behind his own car.

Because his vehicle has cameras, O’Morrow now has footage of the frightening collision.

O’Morrow said the crash happened around 11:40 a.m. on I-77 South just outside of uptown. He said he noticed that the vehicle two cars back seemed to be traveling too fast.

“He came out a little bit and he was going way too fast. I saw that and I actually punched the accelerator real quick to try and get away and looked forward to make sure I wasn’t going to hit anybody and by the time I looked back the car was smashed against the tractor-trailer,” said O’Morrow in an interview with WBTV Wednesday.

O’Morrow said it wasn’t until he was able to stop driving and review the footage from his car’s cameras that he realized how serious the wreck looked.

Footage from the Tesla’s cameras shows the sedan slamming into the side of the tractor-trailer. The car is instantly smashed and a hub cap is seen rolling off one of the wheels.

“It was kind of scary. If I would have known how bad it was, I would have stopped and seen if everybody was okay,” said O’Morrow.

The video footage also shows how close O’Morrow’s Tesla came to being involved in the crash.

“In that instant where he hits and then comes up, he had to have been less than 12 inches away from me,” explained the Tesla owner.

According to Trooper Ray Pierce with the North Carolina State Highway Patrol, no one was killed in the crash.

Pierce said a few people were transported to the hospital, but none of them had life-threatening injuries. Pierce said the driver of the vehicle that slammed into the tractor-trailer was charged for failure to reduce speed.

Pierce noted that speeding has been an issue across the state this past year.

He said even with fewer drivers on the roads, there were more deadly crashes in 2020 than there were in 2019. Data from the NCSHP shows there were 1,377 deadly crashes in 2019, but 1,516 deadly crashes in 2020.

“We had less traffic on the highways, but our (fatal wrecks) were up during COVID because people were driving more aggressively,” said Pierce. “Their speeds were higher. Their attention was not on driving. As those speeds increase, your reaction time decreases.”

Pierce is urging drivers to be cautious as the summer begins and more drivers return to the roads.

“We’re trying to reiterate to drivers, as you see that increase, you’ve got to slow your speeds down,” said Pierce.

He said any driver who witnesses a crash or records video of a crash is encouraged to contact the NCSHP. Pierce said troopers rely on the public to help provide them with info that can aid in crash investigations.

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