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Pilot dies after plane crashes onto I-85 in Davidson County

The plane took off from Lexington-Davidson County Airport. It went down soon after, crashing into the back of a tractor-trailer.

DAVIDSON COUNTY, N.C. — Officials in North Carolina said a pilot died Wednesday when a plane crashed onto a Davidson County highway. 

North Carolina Highway Patrol said the pilot, 43-year-old Raymond John Ackley, from Charlotte, attempted takeoff from the Lexington-Davidson County Airport before crashing into the back of a tractor-trailer on I-85 in Lexington. Ackley died in the crash. Highway Patrol said they believe the pilot experienced a mechanical issue before going down. 

The truck driver, 41-year-old Barrin Lamont Davis, from Concord, was taken to Lexington Memorial Hospital with minor injuries. 

Officials said the call came in after 5 p.m. Wednesday at mile marker 88 on I-85. The plane took off from the airport and crashed into the back of a tractor-trailer, which started a fire in the back of the truck. The truck then ran off the highway and flipped over. Highway Patrol secured the crash site until the FAA got to the scene to investigate. 

The FAA said the plane was a twin-engine Beechcraft Baron. Officials said the pilot was the only one on board. The airplane manufacturer said this type of plane can seat six. The Aviation Safety Network said these types of planes have been involved in two other crashes this year - one in Missouri and another in Brazil.

Credit: Bryant Roland
Bystanders rush to help after a plane crashed into the back of a tractor-trailer on I-85 in Davidson County on Wednesday, Feb. 16, 2022.

It'll be much longer before officials learn what caused the crash. NTSB officials said a full investigation can take up to two years to be completed. 

Several News 2 viewers shared photos and videos from the crash. The crash left southbound traffic at a standstill for several hours. All southbound I-85 lanes reopened early Thursday morning.  

Thursday morning 7 a.m. update

Photos from WFMY News 2's Itinease McMiller show remnants of the crash are still on the side of the highway. The wrecked tractor-trailer is still there. 

Thursday morning 2 a.m. update

All lanes of I-85 are now back open. Troopers had southbound lanes closed until about midnight, as they continued to secure the scene and investigate. 

Wednesday night 11 p.m. update

Wednesday night 10 p.m. update

HAPPENING NOW | WFMY News 2’s Amber Lake with an update after a plane crashed into a tractor-trailer on I-85 in Davidson County.

Posted by WFMY News 2 on Wednesday, February 16, 2022

Wednesday night 8 p.m. update

PLANE CRASH: Highway Patrol provide update on plane crash in Davidson County WFMY News 2

Posted by Amber Lake on Wednesday, February 16, 2022

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