WRIGHTSVILLE BEACH — A truck heading toward the Wrightsville Beach draw bridge hurtled off-course into a gazebo overlooking the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway on Monday morning.
There was one man inside the vehicle, who was taken off the scene shortly after the incident, according to police. Since the wreck originated on the Wilmington side of the Heidi Trask Memorial Bridge, the Wilmington Police Department is handling the investigation.
“A truck veered off of the road near Wrightsville Avenue, where it meets the [Intracoastal] Waterway, took out the gazebo and ended up in the water up to its doors,” a police spokesperson said. “The driver was fine but was transported [to the hospital], possibly for a medical condition.”
Following the crash, the driver sat on a ledge near the gazebo — which is situated on the Cross City Trail — before being taken away, according to police on the scene. Empty police cruisers, with their flashing lights on, were positioned on the draw bridge.
Near the gazebo, Empire Towing worked to extract the car from the marsh. Crew members attached lines to the crashed truck — which was carrying a large appliance in the truck bed — and pulled it away from the destroyed gazebo.
Before the tow truck operation got under way, Ryan Saporito, a captain for SeaTow, offered to remove the truck by placing floatation devices underneath, he said. SeaTow could move it across the waterway to the public docks, where the truck would be hauled away.
“We were here and available, trying to minimize the environmental aspect,” Saporito said.
Instead, a decision was made to pull the car back through the marsh and past the wrecked gazebo.
“It brought the whole town out, that’s one thing,” said Margie Klinge, who lives nearby and was walking her dog as she came upon the wreck. “You would think that could kill somebody.”
Wrightsville Beach Town Manager Tim Owens said the destroyed Gazebo was under Wilmington’s jurisdiction, and was a recently-completed component of the Cross City Trail project.
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