DWI charge in head-on collision

Published 6:20 pm Wednesday, November 20, 2013

A Grimesland man has been charged with driving while impaired after a head-on collision near the Pantego Creek bridge in Belhaven Tuesday night.

According to Sergeant Kevin Respess with the North Carolina State Highway Patrol, the accident happened at 6:45 p.m., when a red pickup truck driven by Larry Thompson, 35, of Grimesland, was travelling north on N.C. Highway 99, just south of the bridge, and veered across the center line, hitting an oncoming SUV head-on. The SUV was driven by Debbie Stedman, of Belhaven.

Thompson was taken to Vidant-Pungo Hospital and treated and released. Stedman, however, was airlifted from the scene to Vidant Medical Center in Greenville, Respess said.

“As far as I know, she has serious injuries,” Respess said.

Respess explained that when an accident occurs in a confined area — like on a bridge — accident victims are transported by EMS to a cleared landing zone in a safe area in order to be airlifted out.

Thompson was charged with DWI, though law enforcement officials said he had not been drinking alcohol. Instead, drugs were the source of impairment — what type of drug, Respess said he did not know.

The Pantego Creek bridge was closed from the time of the incident until around 9 p.m., Respess said.