Last updated: June 23. 2014 9:20PM - 9311 Views
By - cfriedman@civitasmedia.com

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HAMLET — A man and woman died Sunday in a head-on crash along U.S. 74 near the Richmond-Scotland county line, state troopers said.

William Kirby Bledsoe, 77, of Wellington Drive in Hamlet, and 26-year-old Caitlyn Taylor Patton of Timbercrest Circle, Charlotte, were killed when Bledsoe’s 2007 Chevrolet pickup truck slammed into the 2008 Honda Civic that Patton was riding in, according to 1st Sgt. Jeff Gordon of the N.C. Highway Patrol.

Bledsoe was driving westbound in the eastbound lane when his truck hit the oncoming car, a preliminary Highway Patrol report states. Trooper M.A. Lindsey said the vehicles struck each other “headlight to headlight.”

Patton was sitting in the right-front passenger seat, the report states. Troopers did not release the Honda driver’s name, but said she was injured in the wreck and had been hospitalized.

Bledsoe owned a construction equipment business, Bill’s Backhoe Service Inc., which has a listed address near his Wellington Drive home. State records show the business has been incorporated since 1985.

The crash was reported at 3 a.m. Sunday on U.S. 74 near the highway’s intersection with N.C. 38. The site is about 3.8 miles east of the Hamlet city limits.

Troopers were conducting a crash reconstruction Monday afternoon to determine the cause and estimate the vehicles’ speed at impact, Lindsey said.

A preliminary report Gordon released Monday said that alcohol is not believed to be a factor.

Authorities closed a stretch of U.S. 74 for several hours after the wreck. Hamlet firefighters and emergency medical technicians and FirstHealth Richmond Memorial Hospital paramedics responded along with the Highway Patrol.

Lindsey said troopers would have more details about the cause after Monday’s reconstruction.

Reach Editor Corey Friedman at 910-997-3111, ext. 13.

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