A former Columbus County magistrate lost his life in a car accident that took place recently just outside Whiteville, North Carolina. The accident was caused when the 60-year-old magistrate's vehicle collided with a 16-foot farm disk attached to an oncoming tractor. The magistrate's wife was with him at the time of the accident and was transported to a local hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.
A police officer with the Tabor City Police Department passed the same tractor off Gore Trailer Road, shortly before the car accident took place. He told reporters that he thought to himself, "There's going to be an accident." Shortly thereafter, the officer looked into his rearview mirror and saw the lights on the back of the tractor moving from the force of the impact. It wasn't until later that the officer learned the magistrate and his wife had struck the edge of the farm disk, resulting in the collision that claimed his life.
News reports indicated that the weather on the evening of the accident was overcast and rainy. The magistrate's Jeep apparently struck an embankment after colliding with the farm disc and subsequently rolled onto its top. The driver of the tractor responsible for the accident has now been charged with misdemeanor death by motor vehicle.
Colleagues of the magistrate, who had served for 29 years in southeast North Carolina before retiring in 2011, spoke very highly of him and told reporters that he was an exemplary law enforcement officer. He was described as gentlemanly, fair and calm. There was no additional information released concerning the well-being of the magistrate's wife, nor were there additional details concerning the charges brought against the driver of the tractor.
Source: WECT6, "Charges filed in accident that killed longtime Columbus Co. magistrate," Jan. 21, 2012