Icy bridge causes fatality

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, January 23, 2008

MERRY HILL – The first motor vehicle fatality of the year occurred here early Tuesday morning for North Carolina Highway Patrol District II Troop A (Bertie, Hertford and Gates counties).

Lewis Earl Mabine, 47, of Merry Hill, was killed after he apparently lost control of his car on the icy Three Rivers Bridge and was struck by a tractor-trailer truck.

According to the Weather Channel’s website, temperatures in Merry Hill dropped down to 17 degrees overnight Monday and early Tuesday. Light precipitation early Tuesday morning apparently caused the NC 45 bridge’s road top to freeze over.

Mabine, driving his 1993 Saturn, was traveling south crossing the bridge at 5:45 a.m. when he lost control of the vehicle and collided with the guardrail on the right.

According to the incident report, his vehicle came back across the road and was struck by a 2007 Mac truck operated by Michael Barnes of Colerain.

The truck was owned by Waters & Waters Co. of Powellsville.

Washington County EMS responded to the accident and both drivers were transported to Washington County Hospital in Plymouth.

It was not known in the incident report whether Mabine died at the scene or later at the hospital.

Reportedly, NCHP officers closed the bridge after the accident until the ice melted.

According to the Ahoskie NCHP office, a &uot;significant amount&uot; of other wrecks also occurred in Bertie County that morning due to weather conditions.