One teen killed, two brothers injured after vehicle hits bridge, submerges in water

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A single-vehicle wreck in Shallotte left one 13-year-old dead and two teen-age brothers injured early Wednesday morning after the vehicle reportedly hit a bridge and then, water.

A 911 caller reportedly heard screeching tires and a crash on Bridgers Road in Shallotte early Wednesday morning, according to town spokeswoman Rachel Johnson. Law enforcement and emergency responders were dispatched to Bridgers Road and found a vehicle submerged in about 7 feet of water in Mulberry Creek just after 4 a.m. Wednesday.

Shallotte police officers and firemen, along with deputies from the Brunswick County Sheriff’s Office, worked together to remove the teens from the vehicle, Johnson said.

A 13-year-old boy, a passenger in the vehicle, was pronounced dead at the scene. The other teens pulled from the vehicle – two brothers, 16-year-old Justice Harris and 19-year-old Devin Harris – were taken to New Hanover Regional Medical Center for treatment.

Both teens sustained “substantial but not life-threatening injuries and are expected to make a full recovery,” Shallotte Police Chief Rodney Gause said. The police department has not released the name of the deceased.

“It does not appear that the vehicle ran off the road, there are no marks,” Gause said on Wednesday morning. “The accident is still under investigation.”

Initial investigations lead officers to believe that the vehicle was traveling toward N.C. 130 on Bridgers Road at the time of the incident, Johnson said. The vehicle reportedly hit the left side of Mulberry bridge on the passenger side of the vehicle before it left the roadway and submerged in the water. Bridgers Road at Mulberry Creek re-opened for traffic at about 3 p.m. Wednesday.

“Shallotte officers, the Brunswick County Sheriff’s Office and the fire department did a phenomenal job,” Gause said. “I also want to thank the North Carolina Highway Patrol for their assistance.”

The Office of District Attorney Jon David is working closely with the Shallotte Police Department during this investigation, Johnson said.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the families and friends of the teens in this difficult time,” Gause said.

Justice Harris is a freshman at West Brunswick High School, according to Jessica Swencki, spokeswoman for Brunswick County Schools.

As part of the standard operating procedure, the school system’s crisis team will offer counseling services to students and staff. The extent of the additional counseling supports and length of time they are provided are specific to each unique situation, Swencki said.