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News Woman critical after falling asleep at wheel

‘I hope to God I didn't kill anyone.’

A woman who crossed over into oncoming traffic and collided with a tractor-trailer truck after falling asleep at the wheel Friday morning is in critical condition but expected to recover. By Friday afternoon, Megan Ehrenkaufer, born 1990, of Scaly Mountain, N.C., was in stable condition in the Intensive Care Unit at Mission Memorial Hospital in Asheville.

A call to 9-1-1 came in at 7:55 a.m. on Friday, Feb. 18 reporting a two-vehicle collision 8.4 miles south of the Franklin city limits on Hwy. 441/Georgia Rd. Ehrenkaufer, a former student of Highlands School, was traveling north on the highway when she veered into oncoming traffic in her 2001 Kia and plowed into the side of a tractor-trailer traveling south.

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Ehrenkaufer's vehicle was completely destroyed in the accident. The tractor-trailer was disabled and significant damage was done to the wheels and underside of the trailer.

Friday’s accident, in which the small car driven by Megan Ehrenkaufer was completely destroyed, left debris scattered all over the highway. The driver of the tractor trailer truck from Cherokee, N.C., was uninjured in the accident, although the truck was disabled, with significant damage done to the wheels and underside of the trailer.A witness of the accident who had stopped to offer assistance reported Ehrenkaufer as saying, “I fell asleep. I hope to God I didn't kill anyone.” After arriving on the scene, emergency personnel found Ehrenkaufer still conscious and determined her blood pressure was stable. Ehrenkaufer's legs were pinned and the roof of her vehicle had to be cut off to get her out.

Both lanes of traffic were closed on the highway for more than an hour while emergency personnel were working on the road. After successfully extracting the woman from her vehicle, she was flown to Mission Hospital in Asheville in MAMA, the Mountain Area Medical Airlift helicopter.

The driver of the tractor-trailer, June Deweese Wolfe of Cherokee, N.C., born 1972, sustained no serious injuries in the accident. He was hauling waste to a Georgia facility for the Cherokee Boys Club in the 2011 Kenworth tractor-trailer he was driving.

Before Ehrenkaufer graduated from Highlands School in 2009, she was a budding writer and won numerous awards for her compositions, including one short story she wrote in the eighth grade entitled “The Color Black” for which she took first place in the countywide Olive B. Eaton Creative Writing Competition. The story was about a black slave who helped build Franklin in 1855.


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