Fatality accident on I-277 outer loop – three crashes

On Saturday, March 12, 2011 at 7:20 a.m., Patrol Officer Jeff Templeton with the Central Division responded to a disabled vehicle, a Chevy Impala, on the outer loop of I-277 approaching Carson Boulevard. The disabled vehicle, occupied by a driver and two passengers, was parked on the left side of the roadway in the breakdown lane, out of the travel lanes. Officer Templeton exited his vehicle and began to assist the motorist. Moments later, a Toyota Camry crashed into the rear of Officer Templeton’s marked CMPD cruiser; Officer Templeton was outside the vehicle at the time of the crash. The Toyota Camry was occupied by a driver and three passengers.

Westover Division Officer Chris Kunz, who was off duty at the time, was passing by in his personal vehicle and stopped to assist Officer Templeton. Officer Kunz parked his vehicle and began to assist Officer Templeton and the other motorists. Moments later, a Toyota 4Runner crashed into the right rear of the Toyota Camry which had initially crashed into Officer Templeton’s police cruiser. As a result of this crash, the driver of the Toyota Camry, who was now standing on the roadway talking to the officers, was struck and killed by the Toyota 4Runner. Officers Templeton and Kunz were also struck during this second collision and were transported to Carolinas Medical Center for treatment of non-life threatening injuries.

Officer Kunz’ unoccupied personal vehicle was then struck by a cab driver travelling along I-277 at the conclusion of the first two crashes; there were a total of three crashes during this incident. A total of eight patients were transported to area hospitals for treatment; the two officers, three passengers from the Toyota Camry and three occupants of the Chevy Impala. There were a total of four occupants in the Toyota 4Runner, none of which were transported to a hospital. Officer Templeton has been with the CMPD since December 9, 1992; Officer Kunz has been with the CMPD since September 8, 2008.

The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Major Crash Investigations Unit is on scene investigating the incident and will release additional information as it becomes available. The deceased driver of the Toyota Camry has been identified as William Alan Sweezer, DOB: 08/19/1957; his family has been notified of his death.

Anyone with information regarding this incident is asked to call Detective Oberer at 704-432-2169.