Former Guilford County sheriff’s deputy saves woman’s life after wrong-way crash on I-85

Piedmont Triad News

GUILFORD COUNTY, N.C. (WGHP) — A former Guilford County sheriff’s deputy is thankful he was in the right place at the right time when he saved a woman’s life after a car accident on Interstate 85.

North Carolina State Highway Patrol said 59-year-old Wendy Wooten Simmons was driving southbound on I-85 Friday morning when she made a U-turn at the I-85 Business split and started driving north in the southbound lanes.

Highway patrol said Simmons crashed into the passenger side of a Freightliner tractor-trailer then hit a driver in a Volkswagen, causing three lanes to shut down for an hour.

Keith Mangum saw the impact from the opposite side of I-85 after dropping his son off at day care in High Point. He said he witnessed Simmons make the U-turn that led to the impact.

Mangum said he jumped the median guard rail, ran to the woman, and noticed she was unconscious. He said he immediately started performing CPR on the woman until she moved.

“I grabbed her, and I put her on the ground, so I started doing chest compressions, she comes to, but she never says anything. I’m like, phew, thank you, Jesus,” Mangum said.

Mangum said he stayed with the woman when another driver, a nurse, pulled over to help. He said they both stayed to help everyone until first responders got to the scene.

Later that day, Mangum said he went to meet his mother at a gas station when he saw the cashier collapse right in front of him. He said he quickly called 911 and ran to her aid.

“I jumped over there and called 911. I’m like, ma’am, you OK? She comes to, I’m like thank God,” Mangum said.

Mangum said the cashier was okay after the incident. He said saving both women today was an early birthday gift for him and a holiday gift to the families.

“Right before the holidays, you hate to lose somebody, but it’s good to have everybody you can at the table not lost to tragedy,” Mangum said.

Highway patrol said both Simmons and the other driver had non-life-threatening injuries and were taken to Moses H. Cone Hospital in Greensboro.

Highway patrol said the crash is still under investigation and no charges have been filed at this time.

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