By Dave Russell
Monsoon-style rains led to a deadly accident on U.S. 74 West at about 4:45 p.m. Saturday.
Pearl Cogdill, 57, of Whittier, had parked her Ford passenger car in a U-turn bulb-out between the Barkers Creek Community Center and Barkers Creek Road, likely because the rain made visibility extremely limited, according to N.C. Highway Patrol Trooper Lucas Brooks.
Her car was struck on the left back quarter panel by a 2002 Chevrolet pickup truck driven by Dwayne Heaton, 78, of Baldwin, Georgia.
“Rain was heavy, and his tires were a little slick,” Brooks said. “He started hydroplaning and according to witness statements, he hit his brakes, and when he did it caused him to run off the road to the right and hit Ms. Cogdill.”
Cogdill’s car traveled 81 feet after impact, Brooks said.
One lane of the roadway was kept open, so there was minimal traffic disruption.
As of Monday, no charges had been filed in the incident.
“I’m going to discuss everything with the assistant district attorney and we’ll go from there,” Brooks said.
Qualla Fire, Harris EMS and several other troopers responded to the scene.
Both drivers were transported by ambulance to Mission Hospital in Asheville.
“Due to conditions with the cloud cover and the rain, they could not fly,” Brooks said, referring to Mountain Area Medical Airlift helicopters.
Cogdill died at Mission Hospital on Sunday.