The North Carolina State Highway Patrol responded to a fatal collision that occurred early this morning (September 21) near Rock Barn Road. The deceased is 47-year-old Sarah Ann McKinney of Asheville.
The accident occurred at about 3:45 a.m. in Catawba County on I-40 East near Exit 133. A 2013 Honda Pilot traveling east on I-40 went out of control, collided with a guardrail in the median, and then struck a guardrail on the south roadside. The Pilot came to rest facing the wrong direction on the interstate. A 2019 Honda Odyssey traveling east on I-40 in the right lane then collided head-on with the Pilot.
The Highway Patrol’s preliminary investigation indicates that McKinney survived the initial crash, but succumbed to injuries received during the second collision. The driver of the Odyssey, 60-year-old Thomas Casey of Hickory, sustained serious but non-life-threatening injuries. He was transported by Catawba County E.M.S. to Catawba Valley Medical Center in Hickory.
McKinney’s family says Ms. McKinney would have been traveling with her eight-month old dog. The dog is missing and Troopers have been unable to locate the animal after several checks along the interstate. The dog is white with blue eyes. Anyone with information regarding the dog should contact the Highway Patrol or Catawba County Animal Control.
Traffic was rerouted onto N.C. Highway 16 until the eastbound lanes were reopened shortly after 6 a.m. Upon consultation with the Catawba Co. District Attorney’s Office, no charges will be filed.