Fatal wreck clouded in mystery

Published 9:13 am Tuesday, May 12, 2009

AHOSKIE – Local law enforcement officials are still trying to figure out what caused an Aulander man to steer his vehicle into a bridge here early Sunday morning, an accident that ended his life.

James Milton Holley Jr., 60, was found dead at the scene of the 4:24 a.m. single-vehicle mishap, one that occurred at the Ahoskie Creek bridge on NC 42.

“It didn’t appear to any of us that he snatched the wheel in order to keep from striking the bridge,” Ahoskie Police Chief Troy Fitzhugh said.

APD Lt. Detective Jeremy Roberts said his investigation at the scene revealed that Holley’s vehicle, a 2001 Cadillac, began to travel on the right shoulder of the westbound lane approximately 60 yards north of the bridge.

“It did not appear to me that there was any attempt made by the driver to steer the vehicle back to the lane of travel,” Roberts said. “I can’t say what caused the driver to veer off the road. Maybe some of our questions will be answered when the autopsy is complete.”

Roberts said an autopsy was performed Monday morning in Greenville. He added that he expects the preliminary results back later this week, but it may take months before the complete results are known.

What is known is that Holley’s vehicle was traveling west on NC 42. After traveling off the right side of the road, the vehicle struck the concrete bridge supports. It flipped at least once, at which time Roberts believed Holley was ejected from the vehicle.

The vehicle landed on the bank of the creek, approximately 10 feet from the water’s edge. Holley’s body was found lying next to the car.

Ahoskie Town and Ahoskie Rural fire departments responded to the scene, as did Hertford County EMS and the Hertford County Sheriff’s Office.

APD Patrol Officer Chad Wheeler filed the accident report.