Motorist dies in storm related accident
A line of severe thunderstorms rapidly moved through the Roanoke-Chowan area early Tuesday evening, causing one death in Gates County.
Gates County emergency responders discovered the lifeless body of 21-year-old Anthony Demetrice Walker Jr. of Gatesville pinned inside a vehicle after being summoned to the scene of a mishap on Middle Swamp Road (RP 1318).
Walker’s vehicle, a 2003 Pontiac passenger car traveling north, was struck by a tree toppled by high winds associated with the thunderstorm. The accident, which occurred approximately one-half mile north of US 158, was reported at 7:20 p.m.
According to the local office of the North Carolina Highway Patrol, the tree fell from the driver’s side, striking the vehicle in the roof where it joins the front windshield.
Gates County Emergency Management Director Billy Winn called the accident “freakish.”
“There was no other damage along that road other than where the accident occurred,” Winn said. “There were two trees toppled by the wind, both within eyesight of each other, and one fell onto the victim’s car.
“We are all saddened by this death,” Winn continued. “I personally know the young man and his family and they’re fine people.”
Winn said there was plenty of advance notice from the National Weather Service about a strong line of thunderstorms moving through northeastern North Carolina on Tuesday.
“Even with those advance warnings, you can’t prepare for something like this,” Winn noted. “It was just a fast moving thunderstorm that caused damage in one isolated area.”
The motor vehicle fatality was the third in Gates County this year, and the fourth in the Highway Patrol’s Troop A, District II area which encompasses Bertie, Gates and Hertford counties.