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Wednesday wreck claims life

GATES – One Gates County man lost his life and three others were seriously injured here Wednesday night.

According to a report filed by North Carolina Highway Patrol Trooper G.L. Bunch, a vehicle operated by Richard Earl Shifflett, 52, of Johnny Harrell Road in Gates was traveling east on R.P. 1302 (Gates Bank Road) at approximately 8:20 p.m.

The vehicle reportedly crossed the center line then traveled off the roadway to the right, striking the end of a bridge.

Shifflett was killed during the accident while three other passengers were injured. Each of those passengers was flown to Norfolk General Hospital via Nightingale, which sent three helicopters to the scene.

The report listed both reckless driving and speed as contributing factors to the accident.

The fatality marks the 10th in 2009 on roadways in Troop A, District II which covers Bertie, Gates and Hertford counties. It was the second in Gates County.

Sgt. M.W. Warren said the North Carolina Highway Patrol is seeking assistance from drivers in the district.

“We are asking the public for help,” Sgt. Warren said. “We’re asking them to slow down, pay attention, be cautious, wear a seatbelt and overall be a defensive driver.

“Our interest and our hearts are to make it safe and make sure we have no more needless deaths,” he said.