A total of nine cars were involved in three different wrecks on Interstate 40 early Tuesday morning.

Three people ended up being transferred to a local hospital with minor injuries out of all three wrecks, said Trooper D. Wakefield with The North Carolina Highway Patrol.

Donna Simcox, 51, of Marion, was charged with failure to maintain lane control, he said.

Around 6:30 a.m., NCSHP responded to a three-vehicle wreck on Interstate 40 eastbound near the 108 mile marker, Wakefield said.

“There was a lady traveling in the right lane that says she noticed another car in the left lane coming up behind her and the car began to pass her,” he said.

The vehicle in the left lane was driven by Simcox.

She told police that the car (in the left lane) started to swerve and come over into the right lane, which caused the cars to collide, he said.

Simcox then pulled back into the left lane, turned sideways and was almost stopped when she was hit by a car that was coming up from behind, Wakefield said.

Simcox told police that she had hit the rumble strip on the left shoulder in the median and overcorrected and came back into the right lane.

“From there, traffic started trying to avoid it and slammed on their brakes … and it started a chain reaction of people going into the median from trying to avoid the collision (and) rear ending other cars,” he said.

Two more three-car collisions occurred after the initial wreck due to the traffic that was backed up. The first three-car collision blocked both lanes of I-40, he said.

Several other people in the second and third wreck were charged with failure to reduce speed, he said.

“The other cars that were coming along were not paying attention or were not able to stop in enough time and it ended up being a chain reaction,” Wakefield said.

One person was transported to the hospital from the first collision and two from the second collision, he said.

There were six vehicles out of the nine that were totaled and towed from the scene. All others received minor damage, he said.

Information regarding the second and third three-vehicle wrecks was not made available as of Tuesday evening.

Agencies that responded were North Carolina Highway Patrol, Triple Community Fire Department and Burke County EMS.

Staff Writer Jonelle Bobak can be reached at jbobak@morganton.com or 828-432-8907.

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