Driver unfamiliarity with the area apparently caused a two-car accident Sunday night on N.C. 89 which sent all five occupants of both vehicles to a Winston-Salem hospital, one in critical condition.
The collision occurred at N.C. 89’s intersection with Prison Camp Road west of Mount Airy shortly before 8 p.m., according to a Surry County public safety official.
A Chevrolet passenger car occupied by a Pilot Mountain couple in their 40s, Ronnie and Michelle Gravely, was eastbound on N.C. 89 when a Chrysler driven by a Virginia woman with two youths as passengers entered its path from Prison Camp Road.
The two vehicles, for which the model and year of both could not be obtained, collided at the intersection.
“I don’t think she was familiar with the area,” Surry Emergency Services Director John Shelton said Monday of the Virginia driver, “and she did not see the stop sign and crossed right into 89 in front of the other vehicle.”
The woman’s name and age were unavailable, but she is believed to be 73 or 74. The fact she is from out of town contributed to a lack of those details by the EMS and a report of the accident by investigating N.C. Highway Patrol Trooper Sonny Hiatt had not been turned in Monday.
That driver was taken to Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center along with the other four occupants of the two vehicles, but she was the only one listed in critical condition.
“She was unresponsive,” Shelton said.
In addition to the Gravely couple from Pilot Mountain, the patients included a 15-year-old and a 10-year-old for whom the Virginia driver is the primary care giver.
Both cars received significant damage, according to Shelton.
“We had 89 shut down for probably about 45 minutes or so, and we were able to open it back up for one lane of travel,” he added.
Along with the Surry County EMS and N.C. Highway Patrol, agencies responding to the accident included the Mount Airy Rescue Squad and Skull Camp Fire and Rescue.
Tom Joyce may be reached at 336-415-4693 or on Twitter @Me_Reporter.