Man impaired at time of fatal wrong-way I-440 crash, police say

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — A man was killed after his car was hit by an impaired wrong-way driver on Interstate 440 westbound in Raleigh Sunday night, Raleigh police said.

Click for more photos from the scene
Click for more photos from the scene

All outer/westbound lanes of the Raleigh Beltline were closed at exit 10, which is Wake Forest Road, after the crash on Sunday night.

The crash occurred around 9:30 p.m., according to the North Carolina Department of Transportation.

Raleigh police said that at least five vehicles were involved in the crash that occurred after Carlos Martinez Gonzalez, 40, of Raleigh, was traveling east in the westbound lanes of I-440 in his 2007 Ford SUV and hit 59-year-old Pareshkumar Shah who was driving a 2013 Hyundai sedan.

A 911 call released by Raleigh police related to the incident revealed the caller requested paramedics.

When asked if an ambulance was needed, the caller responded with “definitely.”

Martinez Gonzalez and Shah were transported to WakeMed. Shah died at the hospital and Martinez Gonzalez suffered non-life threatening injuries.

Interstate 440 westbound was reopened around 2:45 a.m. Monday. Crash Reconstruction Units were still on scene seven hours after the crash.

Martinez Gonzalez has been charged with felony death by vehicle, driving while impaired, and driving without a license. Court documents show Martinez Gonzalez was impaired at the time of the collision and was not a licensed driver.

A blood sample was taken from Martinez Gonzalez for analysis as part of the investigation. Police said Martinez Gonzalez had been drinking before the collision.

According to court records, Martinez Gonzalez had two previous arrests for DWI, among other charges.

He was arrested and charged with DWI on May 9, 2008 and then arrested and charged with multiple DWI violations on Aug. 29, 2015.

He is being held on $200,000 bond and is scheduled to appear in court Tuesday afternoon.

Federal officials have notified the Wake County Sheriff’s Office that, after the state justice system has finished with the defendant, they would like to deport him.

The North Carolina Department of Transportation said there are about 30 wrong-way crashes a year across the state.

“Unfortunately for us, of our wrong-way crashes, about 45 percent of them are alcohol-related,” said Chris Oliver, DOT traffic safety specialist. “We’re doing all we can to try and prevent these crashes.”

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