N.C. man faces charges after teenager’s death during police pursuit
Published 9:14 pm Friday, May 22, 2015
A North Carolina man faces charges after the vehicle he was driving crashed on Crabtree Road in Roan Mountain during a police pursuit, killing his 17-year-old passenger on Thursday night.
Robert Alan Cook, 23, of Elk Park, was driving the vehicle at the time of the crash which occurred shortly before 9:30 p.m. He suffered serious injuries in the crash, and was airlifted by Wings Air Rescue to a local hospital for treatment.
The teenager’s name was not released but the Tennessee Highway Patrol said he was from Newland, N.C. THP Trooper Edward Tester is investigating the crash.
The police pursuit began in Avery County, N.C., after Cook allegedly fled from Avery County Sheriff’s Department officers in a stolen Honda Pilot, according to a THP preliminary report.
Cook was headed eastbound on the road when he lost control of the SUV in a curve, according to the THP. The SUV then ran off the roadway and hit several trees, striking one large tree on the passenger side of the vehicle before coming to a rest at the base of the tree.
The teenage passenger was pronounced dead at the scene and Cook had be extricated from the vehicle.
Tester said in his report that alcohol and drugs are suspected as contributing factors in the crash and charges are pending against Cook.
He also noted that Cook was “fleeing” from Avery County officers at the time of the crash. Carter County 911 relayed information to the Carter County Sheriff’s Department about the pursuit and vehicle location and deputies also responded to the scene of the crash.
On Friday, CCSD Public Information Officer Sgt. Mike Carlock said the department had no official statement regarding the incident and referred questions to the THP since that agency is investigating the crash.
Phone calls on Friday to Avery County Sheriff Kevin Frye went unanswered.
The investigation into the crash is still ongoing. No information was released regarding what charges Cook will face.