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Troopers: Speed involved in fatal Tar River bridge wreck

Posted January 11, 2010

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— A Tarboro lawyer whose vehicle veered off a bridge and into the Tar River last week was speeding at the time of the wreck, the Highway Patrol said Monday.

Jimmie Keel, 57, was driving at an estimated 80 mph in a 65 mph zone on U.S. Highway 64 Bypass on Thursday afternoon when he ran off the road in a curve before the bridge and over-corrected. Keel's Chevrolet Suburban then hit a guardrail and flipped down an embankment and into the river, the Highway Patrol said.

Sgt. Jeff Gordon of the Highway Patrol said troopers haven't determined what caused Keel to initially run off the road.

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

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  • determined2win Jan 11, 2010

    Check his cell & text message records & scan the vehicle computer...

  • pinball wizard Jan 11, 2010

    The speed limit is 70 MPH. The HP "estimated" 80. 10 MPH over with no skid marks sounds more like a guess.

  • teacher-mom Jan 11, 2010

    I think that is a 70 mph area. My sympathy to the family and loved one.

  • BurninStick Jan 11, 2010

    From Rocky Mount to Williamston, the speed limit on US64 is 70mph.

  • thought Jan 11, 2010

    First - my thoughts are with the family- about a week ago someone agrued with me that speed does not kill- sure it does- could something have distrated him- sure, but if he was not going fast- maybe - just maybe he could have controlled the car.
    I was driving my mom's suburban back from out of town last night- I was going 72 in a 70- people were passing me all over the place. Please do not think all SUV drivers speed or can't control the car. It is the driver. All makes and models crash- the car did not do it - the driver did. I saw a compact car speeding and crashed on my way back yesterday- I can not blame Saturns ( which is the type of car I have) for the crash- just the driver.
    But please slow down- that is my biggest problem with this city- slow down and enjoy life, you only get one chance at it.

  • Big Mike Jan 11, 2010

    Distractions of any kind are sure to catch up with you. If it's your time, it's your time. I live by this small motto...."

    Always hug your wife, your kids, your parents, or anyone you care about...tell them you love them today if you have the opportuntiy...you never know if you'll see them again.....

    That's life unfortunately, but the fact is that you just never know....

  • exteacher Jan 11, 2010

    Shine: I believe the article states he was going 80 in a 65, not 60 in a 55, 15 miles over the posted speed limit! Agreed, either speed wasn't going to make a difference in plunging off the bridge.
    However, the rest of your comment makes no sense (perhaps because of the misspellings) but it seems you are accusing someone of a cover-up. You should be careful about making reckless accusations, especially when you have presented nothing to back those statements up.

  • itsmyownopinion Jan 11, 2010

    This reminds me of the accident that killed Attorney John O'Quinn in Houston, Texas, in October. It was reported he, too, was driving an SUV and exceeding the speed limit. I believe O'Quinn was on his cell phone at the time of the wreck. Why do we expect high profile attorneys not to do this? It's so very sad for those left behind.

  • WXYZ Jan 11, 2010

    Yep, driving these big SUV's is WAY too easy. People get lazy, complacent and take a lot for granted while driving these big vehicles, mistakenly believing that they are more protected in the event of a crash. There have been thousands of roll overs involving SUV's over the past 35 years, which have been amply reported in the news and litigated. Yes, riding in a large SUV is very comfortable===too comfortable, even at 80+ mph, and does not demand enough of the drivers attention. SUV drivers, please take heed. Non-SUV drivers, please pass the word and ask SUV drivers to slow down. That is the way it is--his bad driving cost him his life---a risk he was willing to take. Thank God he didn't kill anyone else.

  • My3centsworth Jan 11, 2010

    a semi simple answer exists as to why folks speed , the penalty is not severe enough. Make the penalty really severe and then enforce it with no exceptions and after a while folks will slow down. As it is now, traffic enforcement in the courts is a joke, get costs, a small fine for a non-moving violation and a short day in traffic school and all is well, go an sin no more my child. It ain't working, start taking driving licenses with no mercy and folks will start to learn that motor vehicle violations are serious, deaths will go down. Want to do some finger pointing, Mr.Keel was one who in court got folks off because of the good old boy philosophy and lax DA/court attitudes,shame he paid the penalty he did.

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