Local News

Trooper finds car, body down I-40 embankment

Posted August 21, 2009 11:57 a.m. EDT
Updated August 21, 2009 6:47 p.m. EDT

— A state Highway Patrol trooper investigating some downed traffic signs near where Interstate 40 and Interstate 85 merge in Orange County found a car with a body inside at the bottom of a ravine, authorities said Friday.

Trooper Pam Williams said she had notified the state Department of Transportation about three signs knocked down near Exit 259 off westbound I-40, but went back to investigate Thursday when DOT engineers said they knew nothing about it.

"I thought maybe there had been a bad wreck, and (the signs) hadn't been replaced just yet," Williams said.

She said she noticed a shimmer of silver in a ravine off the side of the highway, and when she went down into the ravine to check it out, she found an overturned car with a man's body inside.

"It was very shocking to find that vehicle with a body inside," she said.

The man was identified as Antonio Terrell Covington, 28, of Raleigh. His family reported him missing on Aug. 10, four days after last speaking with him on the phone, authorities said.

Williams said it appears Covington died in the wreck, but a medical examiner plans to perform an autopsy to determine the cause of death.

Authorities said they don't know how long the car was at the bottom of the ravine. There were no skid marks on the highway to indicate an accident, and grass was already growing over the marks left on the embankment where the car went off the road, Williams said.

"I wanted to make sure, to clear my own conscience – that's what we do – so I came out here and found the vehicle," she said.