CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — A North Carolina couple and their two daughters were among five people killed in a chain of car crashes started by a speeding driver, according to police and a newspaper report.
State Highway Patrol Trooper Ray Pierce told The Charlotte Observer that police would release victims’ names after troopers complete their investigation of Friday night’s deadly crashes on Interstate 485 in north Charlotte.
However, a relative of the four family members killed in one of the collisions identified them as Matthew and Andrea Obester and their daughters, 7-year-old Violet and 12-year-old Elizabeth, the newspaper reported.
Matthew Obester’s mother, Lynn Sherrill, said the Belmont family was heading out of town to visit friends and pick up a new custom wedding band for Andrea after 16 years together.
“It can’t be real. It’s just not real yet,” Sherrill said.
Sherrill said her son had just started a new construction job and his wife ran an animal rescue organization. Their daughters loved horseback riding, according to their grandmother. The couple’s 14-year-old son was not on the trip.
The chain of crashes started with a driver speeding at over 100 mph whose vehicle hit a box truck, which veered into oncoming traffic on the interstate and struck an SUV carrying the four family members, Pierce said. The box truck then hit another car, killing one of the occupants and critically injuring another, according to the trooper.
The box truck driver was taken to a hospital to be treated for a broken arm, broken wrist and several broken ribs, the trooper said.
The driver facing speeding and other charges was in stable condition at a Charlotte hospital on Saturday, Pierce said.
On Saturday morning, a trooper who went to the crash site to shut down the highway again was critically injured when a driver struck his car, which hit the trooper, police said. Pierce told WBTV that Trooper Adolfo Lopez-Alcedo was starting to slow traffic down on the interstate when he was struck.
“Our Patrol family is hurting with the devastating news of Trooper Lopez’s injury, his family needs our prayers for what is undoubtedly an uphill fight,” Col. Glenn McNeill Jr., commander of the State Highway Patrol, said in a news release Saturday.