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Homeowner films aftermath of fiery south Charlotte crash, voices concern about intersection

Updated: May. 13, 2021 at 9:48 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - South Charlotte resident Curtis Watkins says he has been concerned about the safety of the intersection next to his home for a few years. Watkins lives right near the intersection of Wendover Road and Vernon Drive.

The homeowner said he was inside of his house working Thursday afternoon when he heard a loud noise outside.

“I was doing a meeting for work, doing a web meeting, and I heard the loud boom. It was like, ‘boom, boom, boom’, and I was like ‘well hold on, I got to go check this out’,” said Watkins.

He said he went outside to see what had happened and noticed smoke and flames coming from the intersection. Two cars had wrecked in the middle of the intersection. Watkins recorded the aftermath of the collision as firefighters hosed down the burning cars.

“I was seriously worried. I was hoping there was nobody in the vehicle of course,” said Watkins. “I’ve never seen flames like that before.”

Medic confirmed that no one was injured in the collision. It is still unclear exactly how the crash happened and how a fire started.

Watkins claims he has seen 15 or 16 wrecks at the intersection in the six years he has lived nearby. He said he thinks the issue with the intersection is that some drivers have trouble seeing oncoming traffic as they pull out from Vernon on to Wendover.

“People are trying to peak their cars out and they can’t see the oncoming traffic so as they pull out, other cars are coming down the road and boom, they get hit,” explained Watkins.

He said he previously sent a letter expressing his concerns to the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT), but no changes were made to the intersection. Watkins tweeted his video of the crash aftermath Thursday and tagged the NCDOT in his tweet so someone from the organization would see it. The DOT responded to Wakins’ tweet, asking the homeowner to send more information about his concerns and the letter he previously sent about the intersection.

Watkins said he thinks the area needs a traffic light.

“I would totally put a light there, at a minimum, maybe a flashing light most of the time and then during heavy traffic have it be a regular traffic light, but it needs something to control that traffic and to control the speed through here as well,” said Watkins.

A spokesperson from the NCDOT said citizens can submit comments about traffic or road concerns at https://www.ncdot.gov/contact/Pages/default.aspx.

WBTV submitted a formal public records request asking for more information about the crash history of the intersection.

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