MORGANTON – On Monday, July 17, at approximately 5:00 p.m., the NC State Highway Patrol responded to and investigated a fatal collision in Burke County on I-40 West near Malcolm Boulevard (Mile Marker 113). A 2001 Ford Ranger was traveling east in the westbound travel lanes and collided head-on with a 2013 Chevrolet Tahoe in the left lane. This collision caused the Tahoe to collide with a 2022 Ford F250 that was also traveling west on I-40.
The driver of the Ranger, Jeffery Dean Wise, 60, of Valdese, succumbed to his injuries at the scene.
The driver of the Tahoe, Kimberly Noel Gentry, 46, of Newland, was transported by medical helicopter to Atrium Health Carolinas Medical Center, in critical condition. The front seat passenger, Christopher Lee Jordan, 49, of Newland, was transported by medical helicopter to Mission Hospital, where he succumbed to his injuries. Two juveniles in the vehicle were transported by EMS to Valdese Hospital.
The driver of the F250, Kenneth Darrell Mashburn, 51, of Union Mills, was transported by EMS to Grace Hospital, with non-life-threatening injuries.
The initial investigation does not indicate impairment to be a contributing factor and no charges will be filed in this case. All occupants were restrained by seatbelts. During the on-scene investigation, the roadway was closed in the area for approximately two hours.