Woman hospitalized after being swiped by vehicle coming out of I-77 construction zone

- A Statesville woman had to be rushed to the hospital after a construction vehicle swiped her car coming out of  the construction zone on Interstate 77, sending her into the guardrail and causing the car to catch fire.

A witness on the scene, Marc Ramierz says he took pictures of the wreck Tuesday night. It happened on Interstate 77 southbound, just before Brawley School Road, exit 35. 

Related: Equipment operator cited after striking woman's car coming out of I-77 construction zone

"It wasn't even a question in my mind. I thought there was nobody coming out of that car alive." Ramirez told FOX 46 Charlotte.

A diagram from the highway patrol report released Thursday shows the construction vehicle drove out of the work zone and into traffic. As it did so, it side-swiped a Ford Escape, propelling it into the guardrail. That's when the car caught fire.

"There were probably six fire trucks. Lights were blinking everywhere. I saw a car that looked burned, like it had been sandblasted," said Gina Davis, a witness at the scene. "It was impossible to tell what kind of vehicle it was, how many doors it had. You couldn't even see the top of the windshield with the damage done to the vehicle."

Natasha Reinhardt of Statesville was in the car, according to highway patrol. Once they got her out, they took her to Carolinas Medical Center.

The construction worker, Mark Gill, of West Virginia, is charged with unsafe movement and a fine of $187. The contractor, I-77 Mobility Partners, released the following statement: 

We are aware of the incident that took place last night. Our safety team is conducting its own internal investigation of the incident. We also will review the N.C. Highway Patrol's report when it is available. Safety for all in the work zone is our priority. Crews receive regular briefings on safety protocols to help ensure the work area and road conditions are safe. We work diligently, in cooperation with NCDOT, to address issues brought to our attention.

OSHA has said that it will not be investigating this accident because it does not fall within its jurisdiction. 

Highway Patrol says the construction Gill did have a driver's license and was not under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

Troopers say Reinhardt was going the posted speed limit-- 65 miles pr hour-- when the construction vehicle pulled out in front of her at 25 miles per hour.

At the time of this report, Reinhardt was still in the hospital. 


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