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Man may have passed out behind wheel before accident

A four-vehicle crash on Market Street near Cardinal Drive left one man dead and several others injured on Monday afternoon. It is possible that the man killed in the accident may have passed out behind the wheel. A preliminary investigation indicates a southbound 1998 Jeep Cherokee, driven by Moses P. Wheeler, Jr., age 68, of Atlantic Beach, NC, drove into oncoming lanes and sideswiped a 1998 Chevrolet Tahoe before crashing head-on into a 2003 Chevrolet Trailblazer. A Nissan Pathfinder then struck the Trailblazer from the rear. The driver of the Jeep, Mr. Wheeler, was killed. His passenger, Helen I. Cutler, age 62, of Wilmington, was transported to NHRMC where she was listed in serious condition Tuesday. It is possible Mr. Wheeler was suffering from a medical condition prior to the crash. A witness said that he appeared to have passed out. Alcohol does not appear to be a factor. Each of the three other vehicles was driver-occupied (no passengers). As of Tuesday aftertoon, James L. Rose, age 35, driver of the Trailblazer, is in good condition at NHRMC. Krissy S. Horrell, age 31, driver of the Pathfinder was treated at Cape Fear and released. Mary P. McClammy, age 78, of Wilmington, driver of the Tahoe, was treated at Cape Fear and released. Northbound Market Street was closed from Eastwood Road to Cardinal Drive for several hours on Monday to clear the wreckage. WPD used the SABLE helicopter for aerial photos to aid in reconstructing the collision. Other agencies also assisted. The New Hanover Sheriff's Office dispatched deputies to assist with rerouting traffic. New Hanover Health Network dispatched three ambulances. Occupants of the Jeep, the deceased and his passenger, were trapped and had to be extricated by Wilmington Fire and Rescue.

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