Head-on crash sends 4 to hospital

Four people were sent to the hospital Wednesday after two vehicles collided head-on.

Shelly Lynn Rodgers, 36, of Sherrills Ford, was traveling near the 5700 block of East Bandys Crossroad about 1:20 p.m. when her Dodge Caravan crossed the center line. She collided head-on with a SUV traveling in the opposite direction, according to the North Carolina State Highway Patrol.

Trooper R.G. Griffin said the Buick Enclave SUV was driven by Deanna McGuire, 40, of Catawba. McGuire's 62-year-old mother-in-law, Elizabeth Gregory, also of Catawba, was sitting in the passenger seat.

The van struck the SUV, causing severe damage to the front and sides of both vehicles. Griffin said he didn't know what caused Rodgers to drive left of center.

Karen Caldwell, who lives on the a few yards from where the crash happened, was about to check her mail when she heard the collision.
"As I cut the corner of the house, I heard the wreck," she said. "It had just happened."

Caldwell immediately went to check on the people involved. Airbags deployed in the SUV, and firefighters had to remove parts of the vehicle to extract McGuire and Gregory from the Buick SUV, according to rescue crews on the scene.

According to Caldwell, a witness to the crash said Rodgers was on her cell phone when the crash occurred. Rodgers, her 5-year-old son Robert, McGuire and Gregory were transported by ambulance to Catawba Valley Medical Center in Hickory. They were all in stable condition as of press time Wednesday.

"There were no serious injuries," Griffin said.

Everyone was wearing a seat belt at the time of the crash. Medical helicopters were requested when Catawba County communications first received a report of the crash, but the helicopters were later canceled.

Rodgers was charged with driving left of center. Neither alcohol, drugs nor speed are contributing factors in the crash. The speed limit on East Bandys Crossroad is 55 mph.

Caldwell and other neighbors in the area complained that high school students commonly speed on the road, which eventually leads to Bandys High School. Caldwell, however, never saw a bad crash on East Bandys Crossroad — until today.

"This is the first time I've ever seen cars hit head-on like that," she said.

Emergency responders worked for more than a hour Wednesday to clear the accident scene. Debris from the crash, including glass, plastic and a vehicle's tire, was scattered several yards along the roadway. Both vehicles were towed from the scene.

Bandys Fire Department, Catawba County EMS, Catawba Rescue and NCSHP responded to the scene.