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Boats use sonar in search of Neuse River for missing truck driver

Lenoir County, N.C. - Boats and dive teams used sonar equipment Tuesday to search the Neuse River for the driver of a tractor-trailer that went over a guardrail along Highway 70 near Skinner's Bypass Sunday.

Several agencies searched for the driver, including the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission and the Lenoir County Sheriff's Office. 

Transportation crews are working to replace the bridge's guard rail.

The accident damaged nearly 30 feet of it. 

While crews are working, a portion of the bridge is blocked off.

Crews will resume their search Wednesday morning. 


PREVIOUS STORY (12/10):

A truck that went through a guardrail was pulled from the river Monday morning, and the search for the driver is ongoing. 

"The search for the driver will begin tomorrow,” Highway Patrol Sgt. Scott Hemby said Monday. “We have some crews coming in that have side sonar. Due to the weather conditions today, they really didn't want to put it out in this weather."

At this point, officials are unsure of the driver's exact location.

"We don't know if he's in the river,” Hemby said. 

They do say the tractor-trailer was out of Fayetteville.

They are not releasing the company's name or the possible name of the driver at this time.

“All we do know is that the vehicle did run off the road at the right for a short distance before striking a guardrail, and that's what sent it across the road to the bridge,” said Hemby. 

The NCDOT said crews have checked the bridge and it is safe to drive on.

"We did the inspection above the water line (Sunday) visually,” said Rhett Gerrald, bridge maintenance engineer. “We had to get divers in to go under the water to inspect the piles of the bridge. All that was inspected and okayed as of yesterday."

Transportation officials said the vehicle damaged about 30 feet of the bridge's railing.

They are working this week to get the rail back in place.


PREVIOUS STORY (12/9): Roger Dail, Director of Lenoir County Emergency Services said they are stopping their search for the night because weather conditions are getting too bad in that area.

He says that part of Highway 70 will remain closed through the night.

Highway Patrol Officers say driver of the truck hit a guardrail on one side of the bridge, then drove off the road and into the river on the other side.

The Sidney Dive Team out of Beaufort County did find the trailor, but have yet to see the driver, according to officials.


PREVIOUS STORY (12/9):

As of 2:40 P.M. Sunday afternoon, multiple agencies are preparing to search the Neuse River on Highway 70 in Lenoir County near Skinner's Bypass.

It's after a 4:15 A.M. call for an 18-wheeler submerged in the body of water.

"We haven't been able to identify much of anything," said Roger Dail, Director of Lenoir County Emergency Services. We do know it's a tractor trailer. Right now, we're trying to get hooked up to it. We have about 50 people here to help."

Search and rescue teams from Beaufort, North and South Lenoir, Hugo, the Sydney dive team, D.O.T., Duke Energy, Lenoir County Emergency Services and the Lenoir County Sheriffs Office are all on site.

Stay with Nine On Your Side on-air and online as we continue to update this story.


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