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The Daily Tar Heel

Fatal car crash in Carrboro sparks questions over intersection's safety

The intersection of N.C. 54 and West Main Street in Carrboro is notoriously dangerous. DTH Photo

Commuters through Carrboro encountered significant traffic on Tuesday after a fatal collision and subsequent investigation closed both NC 54 eastbound lanes and restricted westbound lanes. 

The crash between two vehicles occurred at approximately 1:16 p.m. at the intersection of N.C. 54 and West Main Street, according the the Carrboro Police Department media release by Capt. Chris Atack.

“At this point we’re still investigating it,” Atack told the DTH on Wednesday afternoon. 

“We’re looking at all the facts, trying to recover video and talk to all witnesses to make an exact determination of what actually transpired to cause the accident to occur.”

Atack said the two vehicles involved were a log truck and a passenger vehicle.

Rita Slotnick of Chapel Hill died in the crash. The Department shared the release on their Facebook today and expressed their condolences for the Slotnick family.

“Our thoughts and prayers are again with the family as they mourn their loss,” the post said.

Slotnick, 86, was initially pinned in and had to be extricated by Carrboro Fire-Rescue personnel, according to the media release.

Slotnick’s husband was the second occupant of the vehicle, according to Atack. He was injured in the accident and was brought to UNC Hospitals by Orange County EMS, according to the media release. Their injuries remain unspecified, but according to Atack, the man’s injuries were serious and he is still in the hospital receiving treatment.

It has not been disclosed which one of them was driving at the time of the collision. The driver of the log truck was not injured, Atack said.

Several commenters on the Carrboro Police Department’s Facebook post complained about the danger of the N.C. 54 and West Main Street intersection. 

“That is our busiest intersection, and you have a speed limit there of 45, so I think any time you have high volumes of traffic and higher speeds, you’re going to have more severe accidents when they do occur,” Atack said.

According to Atack, this accident has not been the first for this location. He said that the curvature of N.C. 54 at the point of the intersection can be an issue – one they have made efforts to address.

“There are elements of safety, and I think that’s one thing to talk about in our follow up with the town and the DOT (Department of Transportation),” Atack said.

As of today no charges have been filed, and the investigation is ongoing. Atack said that they hope to finish up the investigation Friday. The Carrboro Police Department is asking that witnesses of the accident call investigator Mike Metz at (919) 918-7409 or (919) 918-7397.

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