Local News

Tow-Truck Driver Shot While Hooking Up Car

Posted January 3, 2007 5:16 p.m. EST
Updated January 3, 2007 6:17 p.m. EST

— A tow-truck driver was in critical condition Wednesday after being shot on New Year's Day while trying to move an illegally parked vehicle.

William Corbett, 25, was shot when he tried to tow a car parked outside a business across from a nightclub at 2720 N. Church St. in Rocky Mount, police said. Witnesses said a large group of people left the club at about the same time Corbett was hooking the illegally parked car to his wrecker, and they surrounded him.

"A verbal confrontation ensued between the victim and the suspect concerning a vehicle being towed," said Capt. Martin McCoy of the Rocky Mount Police Department.

A store manager who witnessed the shooting told WRAL some people tried to pull the car off the back of the tow truck while others argued with Corbett.

One man in the crowd pulled a gun, shot Corbett in the chest and fled, McCoy said. Corbett's girlfriend, who was with him, witnessed the shooting but was unhurt.

James Taylor Jr., 24, of 717 Starling Way in Rocky Mount, surrendered to police Wednesday afternoon and was charged with assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill, police said.

Rescue workers rushed Corbett to a near by hospital, and he was airlifted to Pitt Memorial Hospital in Greenville for emergency surgery.

Several surrounding business owners said they have had repeated problems with nightclub patrons parking illegally in their lots. That's why they hired Corbett, they said.

McCoy said the car being towed didn't even belong to Taylor.

"It was an isolated incident. We think tempers just flared," he said.