elkintribune.com

Mount Airy fatal crash still under investigation

Keith StrangeCivitas News Service

December 17, 2012

Emergency services officials are playing their cards close to their vest regarding the investigation into the Saturday night police chase/wreck that claimed the life of a 9-year-old Pilot Mountain boy.


Contacted Monday morning, Surry County Emergency Services Director John Shelton said he doesn’t expect any more information to be released until the investigation is completed.


“In talking with the (Mount Airy) police chief, they’re working diligently on this investigation and have been since it occurred trying to determine exactly what happened,” he said. “I don’t think they want to make any comments about the situation until they complete their investigation, so it will be premature right now to try to come up with any idea where they’re going right now.”


According to Shelton, the incident originated shortly before midnight Saturday when a patrol officer noticed a vehicle speeding in the Southbound lane of U.S. 52. The officer began pursuing the vehicle at the U.S. 601 intersection, but the driver, a 15-year-old, declined to stop.


Officials say the officer pursued the vehicle onto U.S. 601 near Edgewood Drive and Carter Street, where the driver lost control.


Shelton said the 9-year-old, who was wearing a seat belt, ended up pinned against a rock as the car was partially-submerged in the Ararat River.


“The vehicle struck a tree near its roof panel, spun around and ended up with the boy pinned in the passenger seat against a rock with the water level coming up to about dashboard level and the front of the vehicle under the water,” Shelton said.


The driver of the vehicle was the sister of the 9-year-old victim, according to officials.


She was transported from the scene to Northern Hospital of Surry County, where she was treated and released.


Both Shelton and Mount Airy Police officials say no more information will be immediately released.


“This is a terrible event, and our hearts go out to the family, especially here at Christmas time,” Shelton said.


A spokesman for the Mount Airy Police Department would only say the accident is still under investigation, and gave no indication of any potential charges as a result of the accident.


Reach Keith Strange at kstrange@heartlandpublications.com or 719-1929.