UPDATED: Tractor-trailer driver in Dec. 9 accident identified

UPDATED: Tractor-trailer driver in Dec. 9 accident identified

Emergency officials are at the boat ramp near the King Street Bridge after a body has been discovered in the Neuse River. Photo by B.J. Murphy / Neuse News

The driver of the tractor-trailer that plunged into the Neuse River on Dec. 9 has been identified.

State Highway Patrol Sgt. Scott Hemby told Neuse News the body discovered Saturday morning is Richard White Jr., 31, of Elizabethtown. Duck hunters happened across White’s body around 9 a.m., Saturday, near the King Street extension boat ramp. His body was taken to the State Medical Examiner’s office, where it was determined it was White.

Tonya White, the sister of the deceased driver, told WCTI her brother was a “kind, humble and loving person.

“We are so glad he has been found and now our family has closure,” she said.

The tractor-trailer was licensed to KACK Enterprise LLC, according to Hemby. The company’s website (kackenterprise.com) describes KACK as a Veterans Administration-certified service that is a disabled veteran-owned and woman-owned small business with a standard of providing exceptional service and superior quality to the federal clients. The company was formed in 2006 by two U.S. Army veterans.

Hemby said the cause of death by the state medical examiner was determined to be drowning. Although there was some inclement weather in the area in the early morning hours of Dec. 9, Hemby said he didn’t think ice on the bridge contributed to the accident.

“It was wet that morning, but I don’t think it was very icy,” he said.

An extremely strong current in the Neuse River forced the search to last six weeks.

“It was very, very strong,” Hemby said. “When you consider that and all the debris and tree branches that were in the river, it made the search that much harder.”

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The body of the driver of a tractor-trailer that plunged into the Neuse River in the early morning hours of Dec. 9 has potentially been found.

Lenoir County Emergency Services Director Jerri King told Neuse News a body was discovered Saturday morning in the Neuse River near the King Street extension boat ramp. The medical examiner’s office has been notified, King said, to help identify the body.

“Some duck hunters discovered it around 9 a.m. and called the North Lenoir Volunteer Fire Department,” she said. “At this time, we cannot positively identify the body as the driver of the tractor-trailer.”

The State Highway Patrol is in charge of the investigation.

The search for the body of the driver has been ongoing for 41 days since he drove off the bridge at around 4 a.m. on Dec. 9. Multiple agencies have been searching for the body since then.

Come back to Neuse News throughout the day for more details.

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