Drivers in I795 pileup say smoke from nearby farm caused wreck

Aerial footage of I795 from NBC station WRAL in Raleigh.
Aerial footage of I795 from NBC station WRAL in Raleigh.(WRAL)
Published: Jun. 7, 2023 at 6:53 PM EDT
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WILSON COUNTY, N.C. (WITN) - After two cars were damaged and at least a dozen people suffered minor injuries, some drivers are blaming the wreck on smoke coming from a nearby field.

Drivers involved in the crash said there were no warnings of heavy smoke on I795 near the Wayne and Wilson County line Tuesday, but that there was thick smoke on the highway when the crash happened.

One driver described seeing the smoke drifting across the interstate in front of him until he says suddenly he was not able to see the end of his hood and had to try to miss all of the other cars slamming on brakes in the smoke plume.

Troopers say the smoke was coming from a nearby controlled burn of a field beside the highway.

In an interview with Raleigh’s NBC Station WRAL, the farmer that was burning the fields says he does not think he is responsible for the wreck.

Brooks Barnes told WRAL that farmers burning fields is common in eastern North Carolina and even showed an open burn permit to burn the field on Tuesday. Barnes said he believes the blame for the wreck should fall on drivers who braked too quickly.

The State Highway Patrol said that while they are responsible for investigating the wreck, the North Carolina Forestry Service would be the agency that would investigate the fire.