BRUNSWICK COUNTY — An off-duty officer with the Southport Police Department died in a fatal single-vehicle wreck early Sunday morning, while driving a patrol vehicle.
Officer Jason Freeman, 29, died at the scene of the the wreck at 1269 Stone Chimney Road in Supply, just after 5 a.m. Sunday, according to North Carolina State Highway Patrol Trooper T. Chavis. A passerby called 911 to report the wreck to authorities, when the caller saw the vehicle in the roadway.
According to the investigation by highway patrol, Freeman was traveling south on Stone Chimney Road, when the vehicle ran off the roadway and struck a ditch, which Chavis described as a steep embankment. The vehicle overturned and then came to rest in the roadway.
Speed may have played a factor in the wreck, Chavis said. The investigation is ongoing.
Officer Freedman was driving a 2013 Dodge Charger, a marked Southport Police Department vehicle, Chavis said.
“At this time we are unsure as to why Officer Freeman was operating his patrol vehicle while not on duty. More information will be released as the investigation proceeds.”
– Southport Police Chief Gary Smith
According to Southport Police Chief Gary Smith, Freeman was operating his patrol vehicle while he was not on duty. Additional information will be released as the investigation continues, he said. Officer Freeman has been with the Southport Police Department for less than a year.
“The N.C. State Highway Patrol is investigating the incident. I would like to express my gratitude to them, the Brunswick County Sheriff’s Office, and all of the other emergency personnel and first responders who assisted on this extremely difficult morning,” Smith said. “We ask that you keep Officer Freeman’s wife and family in your thoughts and prayers as well as our law enforcement and first responders community.”