First responders blocked from scene of crash by I-77 construction barriers

A first responder reached out to FOX 46 Charlotte and revealed surprising details about a crash in the construction zone.

Three vehicles collided Thursday morning at exit 25 on Interstate 77.

"There's accidents on that road almost on the daily," said Stacey Gorham of Huntersville.

"Literally have to plan for a couple of hours," said David of Huntersville who asked us not to use his last name.

Fire and medic arrived within five minutes, but they found 10 patients, including children, who needed to go to the hospital. They needed more ambulances.

"I have a wife and daughter who are driving too. If they were in an accident, I would want first responders to be able to get to them as quickly and easily as possible," said David.

A first responder who was at the crash says it wasn't quick or easy for the two other ambulances to get to the wreck. In fact, it took them 21 minutes to arrive.

"It's outrageous. That's life and death for somebody. You don't know what injuries people have. You can have some people on the ground communicating, but you could have things going on internally. That's life and death. That's ridiculous," said Stacey.

The first responder who was there tells FOX 46 Charlotte that construction workers refused to move the orange barrels so that the ambulances could get through.

We’re told the construction workers said they had to call and get permission. The first responders ended up moving the barrels themselves.

"Being in an accident and knowing that help can't get to you. To have the construction system itself blocking the ability for emergency responders to get where they're needed, it's very concerning," said Stacey.

A spokesperson for the construction company sent us the following:  “We spoke with a representative of MEDIC and they stated they didn’t have any problem getting to the location of the incident. Our crews provided assistance and guided them safely to the incident site. We welcome the person you heard from to contact us directly if he or she has any further details to provide.” 

A spokesperson for the North Carolina Department of Transportation tells us they haven't heard from first responders about access issues Thursday and asks that emergency crews reach out directly to NCDOT about any issues.

The Department of Labor responded to our story regarding the overturned cement truck in the work zone.

The state’s OSHA spokesperson wrote,  “We were able to contact the employer and ascertain additional details of the incident.  Although the injured employee was not hospitalized (only treated and released) and the employer was not required to report the injury, we are investigating the incident to determine the root cause and if any OSHA standards were being violated.”