Detectives with the Shallotte Police Department have identified a Carolina Shores boy killed in a single-vehicle wreck early Wednesday morning after the vehicle hit a bridge, then plummeted into a creek.
Caleb Smith, 13, was killed in the wreck, which was reported at about 4 a.m. Wednesday on Bridgers Road in Shallotte, according to Rachel Johnson, spokeswoman for the Town of Shallotte. Law enforcement and emergency responders found the vehicle submerged in about seven feet of water in Mulberry Creek.
Smith and two teen-age brothers – 16-year-old Justice Harris and 19-year-old Devin Harris – were pulled from the submerged vehicle by Shallotte police officers and firemen, as well as with deputies from the Brunswick County Sheriff’s Office.
Smith was pronounced dead at the scene. Justice Harris and Devin Harris were taken to New Hanover Regional Medical Center for treatment. According to Shallotte Police Chief Rodney Gause, the two brothers suffered substantial injuries but are expected to make a full recovery.
The investigation into the wreck is ongoing. In a statement issued by the police chief Wednesday morning, Gause said, “It does not appear that the vehicle ran off the road, there are no marks.”
Initial investigations show 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 was closed to traffic during the investigation until about 3 p.m. Wednesday.
Justice Harris and Devin Harris are the sons of former Shallotte police detective Tammy Mantreforte, who worked at the Shallotte Police Department from Oct. 25, 2010 to Jan. 1, 2016, according to Johnson.
Justice Harris is a freshman at West Brunswick High School, according to Jessica Swencki, spokeswoman for Brunswick County Schools. Counseling services for both faculty and students are being offered by the school district.
Swencki confirmed Thursday morning that Smith was not enrolled as a student in the Brunswick County Schools. Smith was the son of a Pastor at Waterbrook Community Church in Long, South Carolina, according a post on their Facebook page Wednesday alerting church members about the teen’s death.
“It is with deep regret that we inform you of the untimely death of Caleb Smith, the son of Pastor Scott and Lisa,” a Waterbrook Community Church Facebook post reads. “Wednesday morning Caleb was with friends in a vehicle that was involved in an accident. Arrangements and more information are forthcoming. Please pray for our Pastor and family during this difficult time that our Lord and Savior will keep them in comfort and strength.”
Pastor Scott Smith joined the church in 2012, according to the Waterbrook Community Church website.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the families and friends of the teens in this difficult time,” Gause said in his statements Wednesday morning.
The Office of District Attorney Jon David is working closely with the Shallotte Police Department during this investigation, Johnson said. As of Thursday morning, no charges had been filed in the case.