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Police are investigating a five-car crash that sent three people to the hospital about noon Tuesday.
Two people were transported to Catawba Valley Medical Center (CVMC), and one man was airlifted to Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte after the multi-vehicle accident threw two cars over a steep ditch near the intersection of 8th Avenue Southwest and Conover Boulevard West in Conover.
Crews worked for more than an hour to rush drivers to the hospital and free one man who was trapped inside an older-model Ford Mustang.
Police have not yet released the names of the drivers involved.
Conover police are still trying to piece together what triggered the accident, but think it started when two vehicles traveling east sideswiped each other and barreled into oncoming traffic heading in the opposite direction.
The collision forced a white Ford Mustang and Ford pick-up into a ditch alongside 8th Avenue Southwest. The driver of the Ford pick-up was airlifted to Carolinas Medical Center, while the driver of the Mustang was freed from his vehicle with a head injury and transported to CVMC, said Conover Police Lt. Shane Moore.
The driver of a black Mitsubishi was also injured in the crash and taken to CVMC with minor injuries. The wreck also involved a tow-truck from Butchâ€™s Service Center, which is located adjacent to where the accident happened.
Lisa and Randall McCoyâ€™s silver Volkswagen Jetta was traveling west behind the cars involved in the crash, and their vehicle was damaged by flying debris during the collision.
â€śWhen the guy driving the Mustang hit a road sign, it cut his head wide open and split his head,â€ť Randall said.
Randall said a piece of an installed roll-bar cage hit him in the hand as he and his family braced for impact.
â€śIâ€™m glad we werenâ€™t hurt worse,â€ť Randall said.
It took crews and officers from Conover Police Department, Newton Police Department, Conover Fire Department and Newton-Conover Rescue to help tend to injured passengers, clean up debris and determine how the wreck occurred.
The accident stopped traffic in both directions momentarily about noon Tuesday and stopped traffic in the west-bound direction for more than an hour.
Conover police will continue its investigation into the accident, Moore said.