Monday, April 20, 2009

Teens killed in I-40 crash Second in Two Weeks

Staff Reports • published April 17, 2009 6:05 pm

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ASHEVILLE – A 15-year-old boy died and a girl suffered critical injuries after the truck in which they were riding rolled over Friday on Interstate 40.

That crash led to another crash on I-40 that sent six people to the hospital, including two rescued from a fiery car by good Samaritans.

The first crash happened about 1:30 p.m. on I-40 westbound near the Oteen exit, N.C. Highway Patrol Sgt. Greg Dills said. The father of the children was driving a Dodge Durango and lost control when the 30-foot travel trailer he was towing began to sway back and forth, Dills said.

The Durango overturned and landed on a guardrail, Dills said. The 15-year-old, identified as Michael Courtright, was dead at the scene. A 14-year-old girl remained in critical condition late Friday at Mission Hospital, Dills said.

The teens were traveling with their parents, and their father was driving, Dills said. The trooper who investigated the crash was unavailable late Friday afternoon, but law enforcement at the scene said the family was from Wisconsin. The parents did not suffer any serious injuries, Dills said.

Troopers will consult with the District Attorney's Office about possible charges, Dills said, and troopers will try to determine whether the boy was wearing a seat belt.

As traffic backed up from the crash, a 1992 Pontiac driven by Rebecca Allison struck a Dodge pickup truck in the rear, Trooper D.F. Pressley said. The crash happened about 2:50 p.m. near the 62 mile marker.

Pressley said it did not appear Allison attempted to stop her vehicle before the crash. Pressley estimated Allison's speed at about 65 mph at impact.

Good Samaritans rescued Pressley and a 7-week-old baby from her vehicle, which was engulfed in flames when Pressley arrived at the scene. Pressley and the infant were taken to the hospital along with the Dodge driver Gene Hutson, 68, of Eden, and three passengers in his truck. None of the injuries were considered life threatening, Pressley said.

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