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Waltrip wrecks


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  • More on Waltrip's traffic accident UPDATE: The witness who discovered Michael Waltrip's overturned car initially thought no one survived the accident until the NASCAR driver wiggled out the back window. The witness, an 18-year-old college student at the University of North Carolina-Charlotte, requested anonymity during a phone interview Wednesday with The Associated Press for fear of reprisal from Waltrip's fan base. But she said she lives near the two-time Daytona 500 winner in Sherrill's Ford, and stumbled upon the accident when she was returning home around 2:00am/et Saturday. She saw an overturned Toyota Land Cruiser in a ditch and rushed over to check on the occupants. She didn't see anyone in the car and no one answered her shouts, so she called 911 for help. "After I got off the phone I was walking around the car again and somebody stuck their foot out the back driver side of the window," she said. "That's when Michael Waltrip got out. He wiggled out the back window. I knew immediately it was him. He just got out the back driver side window and stood up." The witness said she asked Waltrip how long he'd been in the car and he told her about 10 minutes. "He was bleeding from his forehead and had some cuts on his fingers and arms," she said. "I told him `You are really lucky you are alive. I didn't think anybody was alive in there.' We sort of talked for a minute or two, and I told him 911 was on the way, and he just turned around and started walking home. "I didn't know what to say or what to do. He had a T-shirt and sweat pants and socks on, he might have taken his shoes off in the car, but I wasn't sure. And he just turned around and started walking home in his socks."

    NASCAR spokesman Jim Hunter said NASCAR would talk with Waltrip on Friday in Texas.

    Waltrip had a scheduled interview with The Associated Press on Wednesday, but a representative, Brooke Hondros, canceled it, saying Waltrip wasn't feeling well. But in an interview with The Charlotte Observer, he said he was embarrassed for leaving the scene. "I just feel stupid," he told the newspaper. "I feel like an idiot because this one is all me."

    State trooper B.L. Buchanan said he arrived on the scene to find the wrecked SUV - which had also hit a telephone pole - but no Waltrip. He said he went to Waltrip's home to speak to him around 3:00am/et, but was unsuccessful in locating the driver. Hondros said Waltrip was showering in his pool house and didn't hear the police when they arrived. Buchanan said his shift ended at 5:00am/et, and he finally made contact with Waltrip at 8:00pm/et. Saturday when he returned to duty and Waltrip called him. The officer met him at Waltrip's home and issued the citation. Waltrip told The Observer alcohol did not contribute to the accident. "I didn't go home to avoid anything," he said. "I just went there trying to figure out what to do."(Associated Press)(4-13-2007)

    UPDATE: Waltrip met Friday with NASCAR officials and was examined by doctors at the track's infield care center. NASCAR spokesman Ramsey Poston said Waltrip was seen and released, which would have cleared him to race this weekend.(Associated Press)(4-14-2007)

  • Michael Waltrip Charged After Vehicle Accident Saturday UPDATE 2: Statement from Waltrip: #55-Michael Waltrip is charged with reckless driving and failure to report an accident after a crash on Molly's Backbone Road in Catawba County. The Highway Patrol says Waltrip was driving about 70 miles per hour in the 55 mile-per-hour zone when he went off the right side of the road in a curve around 1:50 a.m. Saturday. His car then traveled back across the pavement and off the left side of the roadway, sliding sideways and striking a utility pole as it overturned. The car then rolled over and came to a rest on its side. Troopers said a witness saw Waltrip crawl out of the vehicle and leave the scene. When a trooper went to his home around 2:30 a.m. no one was there, but when he went back at 8 a.m. he found Waltrip, who admitted he'd fallen asleep at the wheel. Waltrip, with scratches on his face and some deep cuts on his finger, spoke with Eyewitness News about the crash. He said he was on his way home to Sherill's Ford from Charlotte. "I was almost home. I relaxed a little bit and ran off the road," he explained. "I woke up with gravel hitting the car and I tried to correct but it was too late. The seasoned driver says he instinctively got out of his car, and then decided to walk home because he often runs the route and was only a mile away. Waltrip will be in court in Newton on May 14.(WSOCTV.com)(4-10-2007)

    UPDATE: Michael Waltrip was uninjured in a single car accident Friday night near his home in Sherrills Ford, N.C. The 43-year old was returning from Charlotte, N.C. when he fell asleep at the wheel within a mile of his home and ran off the road, striking a telephone pole. �I am really embarrassed about the accident, but I feel fortunate that I wasn�t hurt,� said Waltrip. �For 25 years I have had a great driving record. I consider myself to be a courteous and safe driver on public roads. I never expected to fall asleep behind the wheel of a car.� The North Carolina Highway Patrol ticketed Waltrip for reckless driving (admitting to falling asleep at the wheel) and failure to notify authorities of an accident in a timely manner.(MWR PR)(4-10-2007)

    UPDATE 2: see a short slideshow of the vehicle Waltrip was driving at wcnc.com.(4-12-2007)

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