Chowan River claims two lives

Published 8:36 am Tuesday, May 13, 2014

GATES – Two Gates County men drowned Saturday during a fishing trip on the Chowan River.

According to Gates County Sheriff Ed Webb, the body of 67-year-old Ervin Curtis Hedgepeth of Tuggie Eure Road, Roduco, was discovered around 6 p.m. Saturday. As darkness fell on Saturday, the search for 59-year-old Herman Wayne Greene, Jr. of Main Street, Gatesville, had to be suspended. Greene’s body was found Sunday morning when search crews from Gates and Hertford counties returned to the area.

“We ran the command post from Gatlington Beach, with assistance from Hertford County EM (Emergency Management), with their side-scan sonar, and the Winton Fire Department boat on Saturday,” said Gates County EM Director Billy Winn.

The bodies were taken to the State Medical Examiner’s Office in Greenville.

Webb said the two men entered the water sometimes around 3 p.m. Saturday. They were heard screaming for help by witnesses at the scene after their boat apparently struck something in the water. Both bodies were found roughly 60 yards from where the boat sank, Webb said.

“The witnesses said they saw the two men attempting to swim to shore after exiting the sinking boat, but at some point they disappeared under water and never resurfaced,” Winn stated.

The mishap occurred about one mile south of the state line.

The cause of the accident is under investigation by the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission.

Hedgepeth, a Gates County native, had retired in 2010 from the highway maintenance division of the North Carolina Department of Transportation. He was a member of Eure Christian Church, and leaves to mourn a wife, a daughter, six siblings, five grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.

Greene was born in Hertford County, and lived in Gatesville. He had worked as a heavy equipment operator in the logging industry.

He leaves a son, and five siblings to mourn his loss.

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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