Update (August 29 at 3:30 p.m.) — The two deceased men have been identified as Je’Mel Sneed, 31, and Frederick Brock, 40, according to police. Both lived in Wilmington.
WILMINGTON — Two male bodies were discovered in a red Dodge Challenger extracted from the Cape Fear River near downtown Wilmington early Friday evening.
“The names will be released [Saturday], once the families have had some time to process,” according to the Wilmington Police Department. “The cause of the crash, and other details, remain under consideration.” The victims were 31 and 40 years old, according to WPD.
The car was found by New Hanover Sheriff’s divers at a location roughly 900 feet downriver from where it was seen driving at high speed through downtown Wilmington just after midnight Friday, launching from the Riverwalk, and sinking into the river.
Divers initially delayed their search Friday morning due to strong river currents and a high tide. They had identified an object at the bottom of the river near The George on the Riverwalk restaurant, but could not confirm if it was a vehicle at the time, according to a WPD spokesperson.
Hundreds of spectators lined the Riverfront when the car finally emerged from the water at 4:52 p.m.
The WPD first planned to drag the car with the downstream current toward a location at Dram Tree Park, near the Cape Fear Memorial Bridge, where multiple law enforcement vehicles were parked Friday morning. But as the current shifted upriver in the afternoon and into the evening, a crane from a large river barge extracted the vehicle, where it was dragged partly submerged to the western bank of the river near the Battleship North Carolina.
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