CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (WNCN) — Two men are in critical condition following a high-speed chase and fiery crash that began near the Durham County line and ended in Chapel Hill, according to a North Carolina State Highway Patrol trooper.
According to authorities, a trooper gave chase after clocking an Infiniti sedan at 133 mph heading west on Interstate 40 near the Durham County line toward Orange County.
The trooper attempted to stop the vehicle for speeding and reckless driving at 2:48 a.m. but the driver instead continued speeding down the interstate, according to the trooper.
Just three minutes later, at 2:51 a.m., the vehicle ran off the road at an estimated 110 mph and slammed into trees after turning onto N.C. Highway 86 (MLK Jr. Boulevard) at Piney Mountain Road/Municipal Drive.
The trooper told CBS 17 that investigators estimate the Infiniti was traveling at 90 mph when it slammed into a group of trees just off the roadway and caught fire.
A CBS 17 crew at the scene captured video and pictures from the crash site that showed a burned, mangled car with the roof missing just off the roadway and in the woodline. A tree next to where the vehicle was located has a large chunk missing from the trunk.
Two men were inside the vehicle and both were entrapped and had to be extricated, according to the trooper.
The Highway Patrol identified the occupants as:
- Juan M. Aquino, 31 (driver)
- Nafees Bilal, 35 (passenger)
Both were transported to the hospital where they are currently listed in critical condition.
The North Carolina State Highway Patrol is leading the investigation and said that charges are pending should the driver survive. The investigation is ongoing.
Authorities had the intersection shut down for approximately two and a half hours before it reopened around 5:20 a.m.