RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — A wrong-way crash left one person dead early Tuesday morning. North Carolina Highway Patrol reported a driver was traveling in the wrong direction on the I-540 east exit ramp to Falls of Neuse Road.

A second driver was exiting the same ramp when the two collided.

The state’s latest data from 2021, showed a total of 66 wrong-way crashes. The number was just two down from 2020 when wrong-way driving crashes were their highest in at least 20 years.

A 2020 report from the North Carolina Department of Transportation found that wrong-way crashes make up less than 1 percent of total crashes but when they do occur, they are relatively high in severity.

State data shows half of these crashes happen between midnight and 5 a.m. and half were alcohol-related crashes.


Wrong-way crash data for 2022 is still being collected but CBS 17 has reported on several already.

In May, NCSHP confirmed four people were taken to the hospital with injuries after a wrong-way crash in Johnston County. The highway patrol said a driver began to exit the westbound lanes of I-40 westbound before turning around on a ramp and then going eastbound in the westbound lanes. Several vehicles were hit.

Also in May, the NCSHP reported that a drunk driver going the wrong-way on I-85 collided head-on with an elderly couple who had just left a Durham hospital where the wife had chemotherapy. The couple was taken to the hospital for their injuries. The driver was never found because the NCSHP said the car’s license plate from Maryland was “fake.” The car itself was linked to Indiana but could not be traced.

A trooper used his own patrol vehicle to block a driver from going the wrong-way on the interstate in April. NCSHP said a suspect involved in a chase with police started driving the wrong-way on an exit ramp before a trooper positioned their vehicle in its path to stop them.