The state Highway Patrol says 25-year-old Ronnie McLamb hit the deer on U.S. 301 outside Benson early Sunday and veered into a stand of trees before landing in the creek. McLamb was trapped inside his car.
The officer had been driving about 90 miles-per-hour before the wreck but had slowed to 45 when he hit the deer.
The UNC Highway Safety Research Center in Chapel Hill says crashes involving deer rose nearly 10 percent last year. There were more than 15,000 deer-car crashes and 10 people died in the wrecks.
An autopsy report says McLamb drowned. Authorities don't believe alcohol was involved, but they said that speed was a factor.
McLamb, of Zebulon, was a member of the department for about four years and had been promoted to his present rank two weeks ago.
McLamb was last seen leaving a friend's house late Saturday night and failed to show up for work Monday evening.
When Benson officers heard earlier in the day that McLamb had not returned home, they retraced his route. The car was located around 5 p.m.
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