crime

The woman killed in Saturday’s crash on Interstate 85 has been identified as a resident of Sherrills Ford.

Caitlin Ashley Palmieri, 25, was backed up in traffic at the Bruton Smith Boulevard exit off I-85 North on Saturday, May 6, when another car slammed into the back of her vehicle and killed her on impact.

“It just appears that this was just a true accident, just due to the fact that it was an unexpected thing,” Trooper Ray Pierce with N.C. Highway Patrol said. “I don’t think he realized that traffic was at a dead stop. It just kind of snuck up on him.”

The four-vehicle collision—originally documented as involving three cars—came as a result of heavy congestion. At about 11 a.m., traffic started backing up due to the Carolina Rebellion tour at the Charlotte Motor Speedway.

“Between that and just regular mall traffic, traffic was heavy and congested,” Pierce said. “It had spilled back onto the interstate to where the right two lanes were at a standstill.”

Though the Bruton Smith Boulevard exit sits in Cabarrus County, Pierce said cars stretched back about a half mile, bringing them into Mecklenburg County.

A 2015 Dodge Ram pickup traveling north on I-85 slammed into the waiting cars. It collided with the last vehicle in line, a 2002 Saturn, which Palmieri was driving. The Saturn collided with the car in front of it which hit the car in front of it.

Palmieri was killed on impact.

Kevin Zane Lumpkins of Greensboro was driving the Dodge and has been charged with misdemeanor death by motor vehicle and failure to reduce speed. Pierce said that troopers don’t suspect any alcohol or drug impairment but will conduct a blood test to be safe.

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