68-year-old woman dies in wrong-way crash after colliding with another vehicle head-on

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MARS HILL, North Carolina — A 68-year-old Buncombe County woman died after driving the wrong direction on Interstate 26 and hitting another vehicle head-on.

Local media outlets report that Barbara Payne of Candler was driving eastbound in the westbound lanes near the Mars Hill exit about 7:30 p.m. Thursday.

North Carolina Highway Patrol trooper Bandon Peterson says Payne died from the impact. He says investigators don't yet know why she was going the wrong way. The investigation continues.

Authorities say the car Payne hit spun out of control and crashed into another vehicle. The driver of the car hit head-on was taken to a hospital in Asheville. Her injuries were serious but not believed to be life-threatening. The other driver was not injured.

The collision caused the interstate to be shut down for several hours.

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