Trucker jumps out of cab, wrecks close I-26 in western NC

Source: WYFF
Source: WYFF
POLK COUNTY, NC (WYFF) - One lane of Interstate 26 in western North Carolina is open after two accident shut down part of the interstate Wednesday night after a driver jumped out of his truck, according to North Carolina Highway Patrol.

Master Trooper Darryl Bailey said it happened at 7:45 p.m. near mile marker 63 in Polk County near Columbus.
Bailey said a trucker lost control of his tractor-trailer while heading downhill in the eastbound lanes. The trucker, according to Bailey, jumped out of the vehicle, which crashed through a guardrail and came to rest on the side of the interstate more than a mile away from where the man jumped out.

"You know, ride it out, or put it against the guard rail or something," Bailey said. "But don't turn it loose."

A few minutes later, a second tractor-trailer approached traffic that had slowed down to avoid the debris caused by the wreck. Bailey said the second tractor-trailer swerved to avoid the traffic, flipped over and collided with a flatbed truck and a pickup truck.

Bailey said the drivers of the two 18-wheelers were airlifted to local hospitals. He said the drivers of the flatbed truck and the pickup truck were taken to a hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

Troopers had to close all eastbound lanes for several hours because of the wreck.

Highway troopers said due to the closure, drivers should take Exit 54 to U.S. Highway 25 southbound then take U.S. Highway 25 into South Carolina, to South Carolina Highway 11 eastbound, back to I-26.

Bailey says charges are pending in both wrecks.

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