Three people died and multiple people were injured in a wreck on Interstate 40 in Johnston County on Wednesday, according to the North Carolina State Highway Patrol.
The crash, which happened just after noon near exit 319, involved nine vehicles, including a tractor-trailer and a flatbed truck that was hauling lumber, said Highway Patrol Sgt. Michael Baker.
State troopers were nearby investigating a separate crash in the eastbound lanes of the interstate when they were alerted about the multi-vehicle accident.
Baker said the driver of the utility truck failed to slow down as the truck approached stopped traffic. It struck several vehicles, causing a chain reaction of crashes.
“I do not have an accurate count of how many injuries at this time,” Baker wrote in an email to The News & Observer late Wednesday afternoon.
Baker said just before 4 p.m. Wednesday that two people had died. He told The News & Observer around 8:45 p.m. that a third person was dead.
I-40 was closed in both directions for hours after the crash.
The DOT advised motorists to find an alternate route during the afternoon commute.