Wrong-way wreck in Raleigh kills 2, hurts 2; closes I-40 overnight

Two people died and two people were taken to a hospital when a car going the wrong way on Interstate 40 near Wade Avenue crashed head-on into a pickup truck late Thursday, police said.

The wreck happened before Durham or Raleigh police or state troopers could find the car, which had been reported a few minutes earlier.

Westbound lanes were closed overnight.

Friday, police said a Honda Civic with four people inside was headed east in the westbound lanes of the interstate.

One person in the car died at the scene, and police said Friday morning that a second person had died.

Officers said two other people who were in the Honda were in stable condition at WakeMed Hospital in Raleigh, but the seriousness of their injuries were not clear.

Raleigh officials initially found out about the car at 11:34 p.m. from Durham 911 operators who had received a call when the Honda was near the Davis Drive exit. Durham had been told the car was going the wrong way at high speed, according to a 911 recording released by Raleigh police.

Four minutes later, Wake County 911 operators got a call from an eastbound driver who said the wrong-way car had been “coming up beside me on the other side of the road,” then hit something.

“Someone was driving the wrong way and just ran into a car,” the man said as he described what he had seen in his rear-view mirror. “They looked like they might have hit somebody head-on.”

Police said their initial investigation did not show that road conditions after the snowstorm Wednesday were involved.

However, the area of the accident and a ramp to Wade Avenue that was the detour for westbound vehicles did develop icing problems Friday morning because of water that firefighters used in cleaning up the scene.

State Department of Transportation trucks were treating that area.

Police had been detouring westbound traffic onto Wade Avenue. Then, however, a car slid into a snowbank there and was partly in the ramp.

Ron Gallagher: 919-829-4572, @RPGKT