Details are slowly emerging regarding a weekend incident on Interstate 74 in Surry County, N.C. in which an elderly Carroll County man was struck and killed by a vehicle driven by a N.C. Highway Patrol trooper.
The identity of the victim was confirmed Monday as Romie Clark Bobbitt, 78, of Lambsburg.
However, little else in the way of official information has come regarding the accident that occurred just before 6 p.m. Saturday along a section of I-74 about one mile east of its intersection with N.C. 89. Bobbitt apparently walked out in front of the vehicle driven by an unidentified female trooper.
Sgt. Mitch Whitener of the local Highway Patrol division said Monday that inquiries about the accident were being forwarded to an individual with the Department of Public Safety, a state agency that encompasses the Highway Patrol.
“He is going to handle everything out of Raleigh,” Whitener said of Sgt. Michael Baker, “since it does involve a Highway Patrol trooper and a death.”
Whitener declined to supply any further details about the case, explaining that “I would do it, but I was told that it needs to go through them (officials at the state department).”
An attempt to contact Baker Monday was unsuccessful.
Wreck preceded incident?
However, the Associated Press and other media outlets have reported that Bobbitt might have been involved in a wreck with his own car before the fatal incident.
It was found parked along the eastbound side of Interstate 77, with damage suggesting that it possibly was sideswiped by a larger vehicle.
There are indications Bobbitt might have been trying to summon help before being struck. Another trooper was said to be in a median of I-74 conducting a traffic check and authorities believe Bobbitt could have been in the roadway in an effort to approach that officer for assistance.
Whitener had said Saturday night that it appeared that another Highway Patrol vehicle had swerved to miss the pedestrian, but that a second patrol vehicle, driven by the female trooper, was unable to avoid hitting the man. Whitener did not know the speed at which the patrol vehicles were traveling.
Reports from the scene indicated that the pedestrian was already dead when emergency crews arrived on the scene.
The female officer reportedly was treated at a hospital and released, and the vehicle she was driving received significant damage.
She has been placed on administrative leave, which is standard procedure for such cases.
Tom Joyce may be reached at 336-415-4693 or on Twitter @Me_Reporter.