One man has suffered critical personal injuries in a three-vehicle crash that took place on the morning of May 3 after an accident on Interstate 85 North near the exit for Cole Mill Road.


According to investigators, shortly before 8 a.m., a northbound Chevrolet Aveo driven by 60-year-old Durham resident Willam Allen Merritt clipped the rear of a northbound Nissan Maxima driven by 54-year-old Mebane resident Kathryn Willis. Investigators say Willis was slowing down because of traffic and both vehicles were traveling in the far left lane.


Merritt’s vehicle then skidded into the rear of a Department of Transportation dump truck, which had been parked on the left shoulder of the highway in order for DOT employees to remove an animal carcass from the roadway.


Merritt became entrapped in his vehicle and had to be extracted by Durham firefighters. He received transport to Duke Hospital to undergo treatment for critical injuries, police said. No one else was harmed.


Merritt’s vehicle was a total loss, the DOT truck sustained heavy damage, and the Nissan sustained minor damage.


The accident resulted in traffic on I-85 North being slowed for more than two hours.


No charges have been filed so far and the accident is still under investigation.

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