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Authorities ID woman killed Thursday in head-on crash on I-40 in Guilford County

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WHITSETT — Authorities say a 69-year-old McLeansville woman reported missing from her home earlier Thursday was driving the wrong way on Interstate 40 before a head-on crash that took her life.

Just after 5 p.m. Thursday, North Carolina State Highway Patrol troopers responded to a report of a multiple vehicle crash that occurred on I-40 westbound near N.C. 61 in Guilford County.

Pearlie Mae Williams, 69, was traveling east in the westbound lane of I-40 in a 2020 Hyundai Santa Fe when her vehicle struck a 2007 Ford Explorer head-on, according to a news release from the highway patrol.

Jose Gonzalez, 31, of Greensboro, was traveling west in the Explorer with his mother and son. The collision created a chain reaction of crashes involving five other vehicles on the interstate. As a result of the multi-vehicle crash, all westbound lanes of Interstate 40 were shut down.

Williams died at the scene, the highway patrol said.

Gonzalez received serious life-threatening injuries and was last reported to be in stable condition, according to the news release. His mother received minor injuries and his son received serious life-threatening injuries. All three were taken to Moses Cone Hospital.

No other injuries were reported.

The Greensboro Police Department confirmed Thursday night that Williams had been reported missing from her home earlier in the day, a spokesman for the highway patrol said in the news release.

It is unclear where or why Williams entered the westbound lanes of the interstate and began to travel east. The State Highway Patrol’s Collision Reconstruction Unit was called to the scene to assist in the investigation.

The westbound lanes of I-40 near N.C. 61 were closed for more than four hours during the initial part of the investigation.


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