‘It changed my whole life’: Wife warns of drunk driving after husband dies in I-85 crash with wrong-way driver

Updated: May. 17, 2021 at 10:41 PM EDT
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CONCORD, N.C. (WBTV) - Bobby Black and his wife were driving back from seeing their granddaughter in Louisiana for the first time.

On the way up I-85 early Sunday, a wrong-way driver slammed into their car. Troopers say alcohol was likely involved.

Bobby Black, 55, was close to his home shortly after 5:30 a.m. Sunday when the crash happened between the Poplar Tent and George Liles Parkway exits in Cabarrus County.

‘I kissed him goodbye’: Wife warns of drunk driving after husband dies in crash with wrong-way...
‘I kissed him goodbye’: Wife warns of drunk driving after husband dies in crash with wrong-way driver(WBTV)

Investigators say a 19-year-old female student at UNC Charlotte caused the wreck, and she is now in the hospital in serious condition but is expected to survive.

Troopers say there are warrants for the teen’s arrest, but they are waiting for blood results taken at the hospital to confirm she was driving under the influence.

ALE is also investigating.

The girl’s name has not been released yet since she is still in the hospital, and the arrest warrants have yet to be served, according to troopers.

Karen Black, devastated by the death of her husband, told WBTV she wanted to get a message out there about the dangers of drinking and driving.

Her life changed in a flash.

Karen Black is begging everyone not to drive when alcohol is involved -- just call a cab or a friend.

“It changed my whole life in a split second, and it never should have happened,” Karen Black said.

What happened Sunday morning is a decision made, that can’t be undone.

“It was 30 minutes from home, we were almost home,” Karen Black said.

Karen Black recalls the tragic collision on I-85.

They were on I-85 only minutes from home when a car came toward them on the interstate.

“All of the sudden, I heard like boom,” Karen Black said.

The accident sent the Blacks car spinning out of control.

Karen Black tried to get her husband out of the car, but he didn’t respond.

“Just looking down he wouldn’t answer me,” Karen Black said. “And I shook his arm and said, ‘are you OK? I said, ‘we’ve got to get out’ and he wouldn’t answer me.”

Troopers said the Blacks car was hit near head-on by a driver going the wrong way on the freeway.

On Monday night, Bobby Black’s daughter Sarah Starnes said he was the kind of person who would help anyone.

She said his selfless acts even extended to helping animals.

“The last time I heard my Dad’s voice was him offering to help a sick dog,” said Starnes.

The suspected wrong-way driver was taken to the hospital and is expected to survive.

Troopers said the teen will be charged with felony death by motor vehicle. Other charges may surface once the bloodwork comes back to confirm suspicions.

While Karen bears the scars of what happened, the deepest scar is the loss of her husband.

“I asked if I could please see him again and they let me see him and I kissed him goodbye,” Karen Black said.

Troopers said at that fraction of a second before the two cars collided, Bobby Black was able to jerk the car to the right so that he took the brunt of the impact saving Karen’s life.

“Oh God, he really did that?” Karen Black asked.

During the investigation Sunday morning, the northbound lanes of I-85 were shut down between Poplar Tent Rd. and George Liles Parkway was shut down for about an hour and a half.

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