FIRST ON 3: 17-year-old dead after falling from truck on Cape Fear Memorial Bridge

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Submitted: Sat, 03/31/2012 - 3:59am
Updated: Mon, 04/02/2012 - 1:20am

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — A teenager is dead after falling out of a truck bed on the Cape Fear Memorial Bridge Friday night.

Wilmington Police say the 17-year-old victim had been riding in the back of a pickup truck driven by his foster father, Jerry James Highsmith, 62, from Willard. Investigators say the victim had been attempting to secure a box spring and mattress in the bed of the pickup truck by laying on them.

When the truck reached the top of the Cape Fear Memorial Bridge just before 8:15 p.m. Friday, Highsmith said a gust of wind lifted both the mattress and box springs, with the victim, out of the bed of the pickup truck and onto the bridge span. The boy suffered fatal head trauma, but was not hit by any other vehicles.

Witnesses told investigators the truck was going well below the speed limit

Wilmington Police Department traffic investigators, after consulting with the New Hanover County District Attorney’s office, will not pursue any criminal charges, once the crash report is complete.

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82 Comments on "FIRST ON 3: 17-year-old dead after falling from truck on Cape Fear Memorial Bridge"

2015 years 8 months ago

Could everyone stop debating laws and complaining about the WPD and start praying for the friends and family of this young person who was tragically taken! I myself don’t understand how it could happen but it did and the family needs support right now. Not a bunch of debaters trying to justify what’s right and what’s wrong about the laws!

2015 years 8 months ago

I Agree with skier. This is the first time I can recollect hearing about someone killed this way. I do recall however, every year a number of high school athletes perishing.
I never thought seat belt laws made any sense. Perhaps it too should be a privlidge, maybe if you get a ticket the sheriff should go to your house and cut them out of the car!

2015 years 8 months ago

From what was posted on the Star News….the guy was sitting on top of a mattress and boxsprings that were laying in the truck sideways, and a gust of wind blew it all out, including the guy. Sounds to me like the driver had an unsecure load, and should at least be charged with that. It’s a shame that the guy died like that.

Chris Paladino
2015 years 8 months ago

Once again I am truly amazed by the Human Race!! You all should be ashamed of yourselves… How dare you attack this situation. I was there on the bridge administering CPR to this boy who by the way could have been anyone of our kids…. But to Viciously Attack these parents at such a tragic time you should be ashamed of yourselves!!!!!! To be on that bridge was absolutely horrible it was a tragic accident, at first I was also appalled by the situation Why was he in the back of that truck, He is in the states care, Why did it have to happen, Why wasn’t there anything that they could have done to prevent this,Why couldn’t I do more to bring him back???? Why Dear Lord Why?? To the Parents I am so so so Sorry this happened to your son, He was not on the bridge long before people arrived, seconds actually,He did not suffer!! and he was with people who cared prior to his passing and during his passing we did everything we could considering the circumstances. To everyone who loved Frank I extend my sorrow and condolences. To all of you negative hateful people REALLY get a F@%$ing Life and again put yourself in someone elses shoes before you open your mouth, we are talking about a boy, a son, a friend, a HUMAN BEING for crying out loud! There is truly a lesson to be learned from all of this…. Not one of us is promised tomorrow Cherish everyone and everyday! Thank You Frank for refreshing my memory on that RIP Young Brother!!!!!!!

2015 years 8 months ago

But you cannot save people from themselves. Imagine what $2 worth of rope would have saved…