Accused Drunken Driver Commits Suicide
Posted February 13, 2002 9:58 a.m. EST
RALEIGH, N.C. — A man who was scheduled to be in court next week for second-degree murder charges in a drunk-driving accident has committed suicide.
Roger Dale Bridges, 54, was charged in the death of J.P. Huo, owner of Lee's Tailor Shop at Crabtree Valley Mall, in August. Police said that the 44-year-old woman was struck and thrown almost 35 feet in the accident.
Bridges, a Wake Forest town building inspector, was involuntarily committed to Holly Hill Hospital, a psychiatric hospital, four days after Huo's death.
"He had threatened to take his own life, and he had been committed to a psychiatric hospital for testing and treatment," said Rick Gammon, Bridges' attorney.
Huo's husband, Yaodong Ji, sued Bridges in October for wrongful death, saying that Bridges had a blood-alcohol level of 0.23 at the time of the accident.
Bridges was on house arrest, awaiting trial. When Gammon found out his client had escaped from house arrest, he said that he feared the worst.
"He's been very depressed over this situation. He's had a very difficult time dealing with the guilt that's associated with something like this," Gammon said.
Bridges' body was found Monday by Wake County sheriff's deputies in a wooded area off Durant Road in north Raleigh.
Ji still runs the tailor shop he and his wife operated together. He called Bridges' death a tragedy.