Traffic on U.S. 421 West in Wilkesboro was impeded for over six hours Friday after a collision between a pickup and a car at the intersection of Dancy Road and U.S. 421 left a utility pole snapped in half, downing power lines and traffic lights.
After the collision, the 1986 Chevrolet pickup went off the right side of U.S. 421 and hit a utility pole in the southeast corner of the intersection. Part of the broken pole fell on the hood and cab of the pickup and power lines and traffic lights fell across both U.S. 421 and Dancy Road.
The pickup, driven by Dennis Dean Eller, 60, of Purlear, was eastbound on U.S. 421 when it collided with a 2001 Honda driven by Thomas Joseph Keller, 33, of Millers Creek. The Honda was southbound on Dancy Road when it entered the intersection. Eller was charged with failure to stop for a red light. There were no serious injuries.
The accident occurred about 11:30 a.m. Friday and initially left traffic in westbound lanes backed up over three miles to the Brushy Mountain Road interchange and left eastbound traffic backed up about a mile and a half to the N.C. 16 North intersection, said Lt. Rocky Moore of the Wilkesboro Police Department.
Law enforcement diverted all traffic on U.S. 421 to Dancy and Winkler Mill roads for about an hour. Through traffic was opened both ways on U.S. 421 when downed traffic lights were removed from the roadway.
However, vehicles trying to make left turns from Dancy and Winkler Mill roads onto U.S. 421 were directed to instead turn right and travel a distance before turning around due to traffic being backed up. Moore said this continued until about 6:15 p.m.
Moore said restoration of normal traffic flow was delayed by workers having to wait several hours for a utility pole to arrive. Friday afternoon already is a time when traffic on U.S. 421 West in Wilkesboro typically is congested, partly due to people traveling to the Boone area.
The Wilkesboro Police Department, Wilkesboro Fire Department and N.C. Highway Patrol directed traffic. The Millers Creek Fire Department also assisted.