2 hospitalized after wreck

First Posted: 2/12/2015

ELLERBE — A driver was airlifted to a Charlotte hospital with significant injuries following a Thursday morning wreck.

The crash happened around 7:50 a.m. when 21-year-old Kaitlyn Gardner of Ellerbe drove her 2011 Chevy Cruze left of center on Haywood Parker Road — just north of Green Lake Road, near Ellerbe — and struck a 1998 Mazda 626 driven by Juan Diaz, also 21 and from Ellerbe, according to a preliminary investigation by Trooper R.B. Goodwin of the N.C. Highway Patrol.

Goodwin said both drivers were trapped inside their vehicles and had to be rescued.

Diaz was airlifted to Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte and Gardner was taken by ambulance to FirstHealth Moore Regional Hospital in Pinehurst, the trooper said.

Goodwin said he could not comment on the extent of their injuries, but did say the last he had heard was that both drivers were in stable condition.

According to Goodwin, Eric Gordon of Rockingham was driving a full-sized pickup truck behind Diaz when the collision occurred.

As Gardner and Diaz collided, their vehicles went to opposite ditches and Gordon drove in between, with his truck sustaining minor damage from the debris, Goodwin said.

Crews from FirstHealth EMS, Ellerbe Rescue Squad and the Ellerbe and Northside fire departments and the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office also responded to the wreck.

Goodwin said the investigation is ongoing and charges are pending.

Reach reporter William R. Toler at 910-817-2675.