Truck driver killed during storm

Published 2:23 pm Tuesday, September 6, 2016

A tractor-trailer driver was killed Saturday morning, Sept. 3, when Tropical Storm Hermine winds overturned his rig into the railings on the U.S. Highway 64 bridge over Alligator River.

The tractor roof was crushed as it impacted the concrete railings shortly before 10 a.m., and the driver was pronounced dead at the scene, Tyrrell County Sheriff Darryl Livermen stated.

A State Highway Patrol spokeswoman identified the driver as Michael York, 64, of Sophia, a small community south of Greensboro. It appeared he was returning to the distribution center near Greensboro after making deliveries to Harris Teeter supermarkets on the Outer Banks.

The Tyrrell County 911 Center received a call at 9:55 a.m. that a tractor-trailer had overturned on the Alligator River Bridge, and emergency crews from Tyrrell and Dare counties responded, the sheriff reported.

The Alligator River Bridge reopened around 5 p.m. Saturday after being closed for almost seven hours.

The bridge tender on the Alligator River Bridge reported a wind gust of 116 mph recorded on the bridge at 6:39 a.m., the sheriff stated.

“The entire Harris Teeter family is deeply saddened by the loss of our friend and colleague,” Danna Robinson, communications manager for the grocery chain, stated Monday. “Our condolences are with his family and friends. He served Harris Teeter for 12 years and was recognized for the last nine years in a row with our company’s esteemed Safe Driving award.”

During the bridge closure, motorists bound for the Labor Day weekend on the Outer Banks were detoured over N.C. Highway 94 from Columbia to U.S. Highway 264 south of Mattamuskeet Lake, and then to Manns Harbor.

Several of those vehicles became disabled after trying to drive through floodwaters near Northwest Fork Bridge 15 miles south of Columbia, the sheriff said.

Tyrrell sheriff’s deputies and Tyrrell Volunteer Fire Department personnel responded to numerous calls of vehicles becoming disabled in the water, he added.

“Even after the Alligator River Bridge opened, emergency crews responded to numerous calls for disabled motorists in the same area,” Sheriff Liverman stated.