Accident claims Powellsville man

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, January 28, 2004

COLERAIN – A Powellsville man is dead, apparently the victim of hypothermia and drowning, following a single-vehicle accident near here Saturday night.

Bertie Sheriff Greg Atkins reported that Edward McKinley Freeman, 54, of Snow Avenue in Powellsville died as the result of hypothermia and drowning after the vehicle he was operating ran off the Basnight Road – located off NC 45, approximately five miles south of Colerain – and into a drainage ditch. The ditch reportedly contained about five feet of water.

The series of events leading up to Freeman’s death allegedly began earlier on Saturday when he was at the home of a neighbor. The Sheriff said Freeman was consuming alcohol at that time.

North Carolina Highway Patrol Sgt. B.J. Jones revealed that Freeman’s blood alcohol level was 0.21, nearly three times the state’s legal limit (0.8).

&uot;An elderly gentleman happen to pass by the accident scene and saw Mr. Freeman standing, chest deep, in the water,&uot; said Sheriff Atkins. &uot;The gentleman left the scene in order to call 911 and returned to the accident scene. Upon arrival of the emergency responders, Mr. Freeman had apparently disappeared beneath the water.&uot;

The Bertie County Water Search and Rescue Team was summoned at that point. They recovered the body soon after their arrival, reported Sheriff Atkins.

The vehicle, a 1991 Pontiac Grand Am, Freeman was operating was reported as stolen. It was parked in the yard of Freeman’s neighbor, left there by another visitor to that residence. The keys were reportedly left in the ignition.

The accident and death were not attributed to the winter storm, which didn’t arrive until Sunday.