One killed, 5 hospitalized after Burke wreck

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by APRIL BETHEA / The Charlotte Observer

WCNC.com

Posted on March 13, 2013 at 8:23 PM

MORGANTON, N.C. -- Investigators are still trying to figure out what exactly led to a wreck that killed a man from Morganton and sent five other people to the hospital.

The wreck occurred around 2:15 p.m. Tuesday on U.S. 64 near Duckworth Circle, which is about three miles south of Morganton.

Witnesses say a Chevy Blazer was traveling south on the highway when it began swerving in an “erratic manner” and crossed the center line, said First Sgt. Doug Amos of the N.C. Highway Patrol.

The Blazer then struck the front of a Chrysler minivan that was traveling in the opposite direction. The van spun and came to rest against an embankment, Amos said.

Michael Piercy, 31, who was sitting in the front passenger seat of the minivan, was killed on impact, Amos said. He was a sergeant and nine-year veteran with the state Department of Corrections.

Piercy’s wife had been driving the minivan, and two of the couple’s four daughters also were in the vehicle, Amos said.

Amanda Piercy and the couple’s 3- and 4-year-old daughters were taken to the hospital. The youngest child was airlifted to Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte.

The driver of the Blazer, Lee Edward Hutchens and his wife, Barabara, also were taken to the hospital. Barbara Hutchens was also being treated at CMC.

Amos said authorities expect to file charges in connection with the wreck, but are still determining what all offenses they will seek. He said neither speed nor alcohol appear to be a factor in the collision, and that everyone in the vehicles was wearing seatbelts.

Amos said investigators are trying to figure out what caused the Blazer to begin swerving. They plan to check, among other things, the vehicle’s condition and learn more about Hutchens.

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