HAMLET — Both drivers involved in a head-on U.S. 74 crash that claimed two lives were going at least 15 mph above the speed limit, according to the N.C. Highway Patrol.
Bill Bledsoe, 77, of Wellington Drive, Hamlet, was traveling at an estimated 75 mph when his 2007 Chevrolet pickup struck Charlotte resident Alesha Grant’s 2008 Honda Civic, a Highway Patrol report states. Grant was traveling at 70 mph on the U.S. 74 bypass when Bledsoe, driving into oncoming traffic, crashed into her car June 22.
Bledsoe was killed in the crash along with Grant’s front-seat passenger, 26-year-old Caitlyn Taylor Patton of Charlotte. A recently completed Highway Patrol report provides more details on the wreck and the three people involved.
State troopers say Bledsoe was driving on the wrong side of the four-lane divided highway. His truck, traveling west, met Grant’s car, traveling east, in the left lane of U.S. 74 East about 3.8 miles outside of Hamlet, according to the crash report. The wreck happened near the Richmond-Scotland county line.
The front-passenger side of Bledsoe’s truck hit the driver side of Patton’s car. Trooper M.A. Lindsey previously described the impact as “headlight to headlight.”
The crash propelled Bledsoe’s truck across both eastbound lanes and into a grassy median. The pickup came to rest 103 feet from the point of impact, the report states. The Civic traveled 22 feet in the opposite direction and came to rest on the graded shoulder between the eastbound and westbound lanes.
Hamlet Fire and Rescue ambulances took Bledsoe and Grant to Sandhills Regional Medical Center in Hamlet. A FirstHealth EMS ambulance took Patton to FirstHealth Richmond Memorial Hospital.
No alcohol or drugs were believed to be in Bledsoe’s system at the time of the wreck, Lindsey wrote in the report. Grant was given a blood test for alcohol and drugs, and the report states that results are pending.
The only contributing circumstance to the crash was Bledsoe’s truck traveling in the wrong lane, the Highway Patrol report states.
A U.S. Army veteran, Bledsoe owned and operated Bill’s Backhoe Service in Columbia, S.C., and later moved the business to Hamlet when he and wife Helen Bledsoe relocated there. The Bledsoes were married for 58 years and raised three children together.
Reach Editor Corey Friedman at 910-997-3111, ext. 13.