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Troopers: Three-car crash in Lincolnton hospitalizes two

JENNA-LEY HARRISON
Staff Writer

Troopers said a man and woman were rushed to area hospitals Friday afternoon after their vehicle flipped multiple times during a three-car collision at a Lincolnton intersection.

According to Trooper J. C. Craig with the North Carolina State Highway Patrol, a Ford Escape was traveling down Laboratory Road around 1:20 p.m., when the vehicle struck the rear fender of a second vehicle, a Ford Explorer, traveling west on N.C. 150 Bypass.

The collision sent the Explorer tumbling down the roadway and through the intersection until a pickup truck, traveling east on N.C. 150 Bypass, struck the vehicle as it flipped, troopers said.

Neither the driver of the Escape, Billy Schronce of Lincolnton, nor the driver of the truck, Susan Hopkins of Huntersville, received injuries in the incident. Both individuals exited their vehicles safely and were walking around the wreck scene as emergency crews worked to extract a woman trapped inside the Explorer.

Fire crews with South Fork and Lincolnton Fire Departments slowly pulled the woman, whose name has yet to be released, from the totaled vehicle after removing the roof, troopers said.

A man, who had been traveling inside the crushed Explorer with the woman, also received injuries in the crash, but was able to remove himself from the vehicle without assistance from first responders, Craig said.

The man’s name has also not been released by troopers at this time.

Area resident Dixie Carlton, who was inside her apartment on N.C. 150 Bypass when the wreck occurred, said she was the second person to arrive on scene.

Her boyfriend had been smoking outside the residence when he heard the wreck and ran inside and relayed the news to her immediately, Carlton said.

Another person was already on scene, Carlton noted, and together, the two individuals helped the unidentified man exit the Explorer, lying on its side, before waiting with the injured woman as emergency crews were in route.

“I kept talking to her and told her to stay with us and to keep breathing,” Carlton said.

A medic helicopter that landed at an area water treatment plant a short distance from the crash site later airlifted the injured woman to Carolinas Medical Center-Main in Charlotte, Craig said, while the man was rushed by ambulance to CMC-Lincoln.

Troopers could not determine at the time if the victims’ injuries appeared life-threatening.

Troopers expected to charge Schronce in the incident with failure to yield to the right of way, Craig said.

Schronce, who appeared shaken from the crash, told the Times-News he had been on his way to his house near the Lincoln-Gaston line Friday afternoon when he thought he had looked in both directions before driving through the intersection.

“I looked both ways,” he said, “but didn’t look back again, I guess.”

Schronce’s vehicle received minor damage in the incident.

While wrecks have occurred at the same intersection in past years, including one Thursday night, troopers said, they did not characterize the two roadways as dangerous.

“We don’t have a high volume of wrecks here,” Trooper K. Atkins said at Friday’s scene.

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