Thursday, August 18, 2022

New details about hit-and-run involving deputy, suspect still not found

A traffic stop on Carolina Beach Road Friday night ended with an officer hospitalized and law enforcement on the hunt for a Chevy SUV. (Port City Daily/Michael Praats)

WILMINGTON—After turning on his sirens to pull over a car on Carolina Beach Road Friday night, a New Hanover County sheriff’s deputy was struck by a different vehicle while conducting the stop. The incident left the deputy with injuries to his elbow and hip, eight staples in his head, and tire tracks marking one of his legs. 

The initial traffic stop was likely for a minor violation, said sheriff’s office spokesperson Jerry Brewer. While the deputy was talking to a woman he had pulled over, a separate car collided into him southbound on Carolina Beach Road near Golden Road, and then fled the scene. The deputy called for medical assistance and was transported to the hospital, before being released Saturday night, Brewer said. 

The car that hit the deputy is described as a dark-colored 2004 Chevy SUV, according to the sheriff’s office. As a result of the impact, the car that fled sustained a broken headlight and a busted side mirror, indicating it was moving with some degree of speed when the impact occurred. Brewer suspects the driver of the Chevy SUV may have been intoxicated.

He urged citizens to keep an eye out for cars that fit the description, emphasizing the newfound structural damage to the SUV should make identifying the car more straightforward. 

“He was struck; it wasn’t a graze,” Brewer said. “I think it’s really going to come down to the community helping us out, and somebody noticing that their neighbor’s car fits that description, also notic[ing] there’s a busted side mirror where it wasn’t busted before.” 

Andrea Krizner manages Joe’s Oasis, a restaurant in the shopping center that includes the Carolina Beach Road Food Lion, near where the collision occurred. The restaurant’s security camera footage from Friday night showed a car being pulled over by law enforcement, she said, and then a rush of blurry traffic.

“And then you see another set of headlights behind the sheriff’s car,” Krizner said. “And then the next thing you know, you see a sea of blue.”

Krizner said the surrounding roads were largely shut down as law enforcement entered the scene, and that the traffic stop occurred in between the two entrances to the Food Lion shopping center parking lot. 

Brewer said the N.C. Highway Patrol is involved in the investigation. 

“Those guys have got forensic people who can look at video and tell how fast something is moving. I don’t know whether they’re at that point or not,” he said.

He added law enforcement maintains a database of businesses that voluntarily offer security camera footage to assist in investigations. Krizner said she had not been approached by officers asking to see the restaurant’s footage. She added a Food Lion employee was the first to tell her about the incident, indicating the grocery store’s cameras could shed additional light on the hit-and-run. 

Brewer said, at this point, nothing indicates the car that struck the deputy was driven by someone familiar with the women pulled over — and nothing discovered so far would show the suspect had malicious intent to deliberately strike an officer with their car. It seems more in line with an accidental collision, possibly drunk-driving that turned into a hit-and-run. 

“But until we get him caught and question him, everything is up in the air,” Brewer said. 

Anyone with information should contact 910-798-4161 or https://www.newhanoversheriff.com/submit-a-crime-tip/.


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