Traffic

Woman killed, state trooper hospitalized after 2 crashes on I-85 in Alamance County

A North Carolina Highway Patrol SUV sits atop a wrecker as firefighters work to clear debris in the northbound lane of I-40/85 near Mebane in 2014. Jurors in federal court awarded Trooper D.C. Justice $7 million.
A North Carolina Highway Patrol SUV sits atop a wrecker as firefighters work to clear debris in the northbound lane of I-40/85 near Mebane in 2014. Jurors in federal court awarded Trooper D.C. Justice $7 million. cliddy@newsobserver.com

A woman from High Point was killed after her car crashed into three fire vehicles on Interstate 85 near Mebane Wednesday morning, and a state trooper at the scene was hospitalized after a bus smashed into his SUV.

Trooper Christopher Knox said Tiffany Jennings, 33, was driving north on I-85 near mile marker 155 on the road that carries both I-85 and Interstate 40.

Jennings’ 2006 Saturn apparently hydroplaned on the rain-slicked highway, and it hit a Mebane Fire Department rescue truck, spun and hit a chief’s Chevrolet Tahoe and spun again and hit a pumper, Knox said.

The fire department had been dispatched to the area about 8 a.m. to answer a call about a car off the highway. Jennings drove up on the scene about 20 minutes later, Knox said.

She was pronounced dead at the scene.

Trooper D.C. Justice, a member of the State Highway Patrol’s Motor Carrier Enforcement Unit, had parked his Tahoe SUV in the road with its lights flashing to protect firefighters and EMS medics handling the first crash, Knox said.

A Greyhound bus heading from Atlanta to Raleigh hit the back of Justice’s vehicle while Justice was in the driver’s seat, crumpling the rear half of the car into twisted metal.

Justice suffered numerous broken bones and was taken to Duke University Hospital in Durham, bu the injuries did not appear to be life-threatening, troopers said.

Knox said Bob Louis, a Mebane fire chief in that Tahoe, was slightly injured when Jennings’ car hit it and was treated at an area hospital and released.

Numerous medic units from Alamance and Orange counties went to the scene.

One woman from the the bus was taken to Duke, and at least three people were taken to Alamance Regional Medical Center in Burlington, Alamance County EMS officials reported.

There were 10 injuries among the 41 people on the bus, Knox said, though some people declined to be taken to a hospital.

A second Greyhound bus came to the scene and took passengers and their luggage on to Raleigh, Knox reported.

Crash-reconstruction troopers were continuing their investigation, and no charges were filed against the bus driver immediately, Knox said, but they were possible later.

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