Two wrecks clog U.S. 321 early Monday

Oct. 29, 2013 @ 08:16 AM

Early morning traffic on U.S. 321 Monday slowed to a crawl after two wrecks occurred within seconds of each other at Grace Chapel Road.

Just before 6 a.m. a 2007 Nissan Altima driven by Dina Herndon, 44, of Hickory ran a red light as she was driving north on U.S. 321, said Trooper Tommy Williams of the N.C. Highway Patrol. The Altima struck a 1997 Toyota sedan and a 1995 Dodge pickup truck that were turning left from Grace Chapel Road to go south on U.S. 321. No injuries were reported, but Herndon was cited for failure to stop for a red light.

Shortly after the first collision, a 2004 Dodge Neon driven by Francisco Romero, 32, of Hickory and going south on U.S. 321 struck a 1995 Ford sedan that had slowed down because of the first accident. The impact sent the Ford into a late-model Mazda SUV. Romero, of Hickory, was cited for failing to reduce speed and no operator's license. The driver of the Ford, 41-year-old Steven Dula of Granite Falls, was taken to Caldwell Memorial, where he was treated and released, Williams said.

The stretch of U.S. 321 is a major thoroughfare for commuters working in Hickory or entering Caldwell County. At least two school buses were about a half-hour late delivering students to schools, according to Jeff Church, Caldwell Schools assistant superintendent for auxiliary services.