Man dies in crash, fall to Tar River

Posted January 7, 2010

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— Two wrecks on the U.S. Highway 64 Bypass bridge near Tarboro Thursday afternoon left one car damaged and another in the Tar River.

SUV tumbles into Tar River SUV tumbles into Tar River

Authorities said the driver of a white Suburban veered off the road, over-corrected and hit the guardrail, flipping his truck down the embankment and into the water. The driver, 57-year-old Jimmie Keel, died in the crash, according to the state Highway Patrol. He was the only person in the car, investigators said.

The Tarboro Fire Department and Edgecombe County Sheriff's Office put rescue crews into the water shortly after the 1 p.m. wreck happened, and they recovered Keel's body at about 3 p.m.

The wreck happened between mile markers 485 and 486, according to the state Highway Patrol. Investigators closed one of two eastbound lanes while they cleared the scene, backing up traffic in the area.

View Tarboro wreck in a larger map

At about the same time, a red car was involved in a wreck on the bridge that crushed its front bumper. A tow truck removed the car. Authorities have not said if anyone was injured in that wreck but did say it was unconnected to the fatal wreck of the Suburban.

Friends remember Keel

For Bud Woolard, who owns the Classic Diner in downtown Tarboro, Keel's death was like losing a family member.

"We heard about it and we just sat around here and hung our heads down. It is terrible," Woolard said.

Janie Robbins, of Tarboro, described Keel as a nice guy.

"Jimmie was there to help. It's just a tragic loss. It's hard to put into words what it means to us," Robbins said.

Keel, an attorney from Tarboro, is survived by his wife and two children.


This story is closed for comments.

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  • JustOneGodLessThanU Jan 8, 2010

    What if this was a car and not a giant Suburban SUV...would it still have rolled over? Probably not.

    SUVs are not safer than cars.

  • sweetpeasmommi Jan 8, 2010

    This is such a sad story. My thoughts and prayers are with his family.

  • elhj83 Jan 8, 2010

    Perhaps you should wait for the facts to come out before posting your assumptions on the world wide web.
    - bcc

    I fully expected a comment like this to show up after I corrected my comment, but I felt it was necessary. When this article went up yesterday people were curious and my information was coming from people involved so it was credible.

    BUT...let's not let this be the focus...a man lost his life and his family I'm sure is devastated. THIS is more important and like I said before, my prayers are with them and the Tarboro community.

  • br549znc Jan 8, 2010

    I grew up in Tarboro but only knew of Jimmie. From what I understand he was a fine person. My prayers go out to the family and his many friends.

  • LocalYokel Jan 8, 2010

    Its too late for Jimmie but we can learn from his mistake.

  • jse830fcnawa030klgmvnnaw+ Jan 8, 2010

    SUV with high center of gravity aggravated the crash??

  • wakeconative4ever Jan 8, 2010

    I do not know anyone involved, but I am praying for the Keel family. May God comfort them in this time of loss.

  • webberx101 Jan 8, 2010

    was this an "accident"? wonder what cases he was on or what info he had...

  • bcc Jan 8, 2010

    Perhaps you should wait for the facts to come out before posting your assumptions on the world wide web.

  • elhj83 Jan 8, 2010

    Sorry...I tried to correct my comment yesterday, but WRAL had already closed the story for that it's open again, apparently what my family saw as far as the driver/passenger thing was that a person had run into the river trying to rescue the they saw someone in plain dressed clothes being wrapped in a blanket and taken to an ambulance...they assumed this was someone from the car, but apparently not...they did however know that someone had been left in the car for a substantial amount of time and assumed that person had died...either way, it's very tragic and my prayers go out to the family...on the other hand, the person I know who was involved in the other wreck is VERY sore, but doing okay