Drowning victim under influence of alcohol and cocaine
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By Brian Freskos
Brian.Freskos@StarNewsOnline.com

WILMINGTON, NC (StarNewsOnline.com) -- A prominent New York City investor who drowned in a car after attending a party on Figure Eight Island earlier this year was under the influence of alcohol and cocaine at the time of his death, a state medical examiner concluded in findings released Tuesday.

The investor, Benjamin Williamson Jr., was found on April 22 in a submerged car off the shores of the exclusive island enclave just north of Wilmington. A spokesman for the New Hanover County Sheriff's Office said the death was ruled accidental.

While authorities previously released details about the incident, the drug use outlined in the medical examiner's autopsy report provides a glimpse of Williamson's state of mind in the moments before driving into the Intracoastal Waterway. The autopsy concluded that Williamson drowned but listed cocaine and alcohol as contributing factors.

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I talked to a Sheriff deputy after the body was recovered last spring and he told me a few things that the starnews/wway did not report. The things he told me are much more inline with an accidental death than the news is trying to portray. When the vehicle was recovered the body was in the back seat. The driver door interior was kicked and beaten and the victim had injuries of those that someone who physically tried to open a door underwater would have. (car doors are nearly impossible to open once submerged.) The interior roof/headliner had basically been clawed out of the car. The trunk was open. My theory is that when this guy accidentally drove in the water the first thing he tried to do was escape but the pressure was to great to open the door. He was driving a rental car that he was unfamiliar with. Next he probably tried to roll down the windows but it was too late because the electrical system had gone haywire after being submerged in saltwater. I believe the next thing he did was put the car in park and turn off the key in hopes that he would be able to open/unlock the door with the transmission in that position. After all of these escape attempts failed I believe he crawled to the back seat as it was probably still floating while the heavier front end of the car was going down first. It is a really sad story and it is very sad that the news is not only trying to sensationalize this story but also portray it in a different light to the reader. God bless his family.

They simply reported the results of the toxicology report, you drama queen.

The biggest question here is why he was driving a 2012 Hyundai Sonata??

however, I'm glad he just killed himself and didn't make it off the island to kill innocent people!

DID THIS INFORMATION REALLY NEED TO BE PRINTED ON THE FRONT PAGE? FOR WHAT PURPOSE? I DIDN'T READ ALL OF THE ARTICLE. I KNOW THIS IS PUBLIC, BUT PLEASE, HAVE SOME COMPASSION FOR THE FAMILY. THERES SO LITTLE OF IT IN TODAYS WORLD.

....some compassion for his family.

Maybe if people READ information like this in the news, they will think twice before engaging in similarly-stupid behaviors, with the understanding that it could be THEM being exposed online next. So sad but true ... if grown adults still have not learned how to conduct themselves in a mature/responsible manner while in public, this may be their last 'reality check' to snap them into gear.

It sure is nice that the Starnews and WWAY have shed some light on this. Im sure his family really appreciates it. I feel for his wife and especially his children. I'm not sure what good came out of this article or why the public needs to know this information.

Man, it sucks that those details had to be made public when he is no longer here to defend himself. Wouldn't accidental drowning have sufficed?

Do facts scare you? What is there to defend? His body tested positive for both cocaine and alcohol. That isn't slander, a lie or anything other than a fact.

No, I'm not scared of facts. However, I don't see how the disclosure of these facts was necessary for release to the public. He had a car accident and drowned as a result. There is no proof that these elements found in his system had anything at all to do with his accident. For all ANYONE knows he could have been run off the road by another car or could have swerved to avoid hitting an animal or any number of things. I am not in any way trying to insinuate that either of these things DID happen, but the fact is: we weren't there to witness what happened or evaluate his state of mind at the time. There is no proof of a direct causal link between the presence of drugs/alcohol in his system and the accident that occurred and ultimately caused his death. The disclosure of these details to the public was done simply to sensationalize the story and serves no purpose other than to upset the people who knew and loved this gentlemen and to tarnish his reputation.

So you don't think having alcohol and cocaine in his body would have anything to do with his car ending up in the water?

Would have a problem with a doctor performing surgery on you with alcohol and cocaine in his system? No? Is that because you wouldn't trust his judgement, motor skills and attention to details?

Two reasons this is news. Rich folk on figure eight get killed by drugs just like they do on creek wood. Second the man was in the backseat, the key was not in the ignition and it was in park. The mans step brother has has two people close to him die mysteriously. It's news.

and you got that tidbit of info from where??? and HOW does a car in PARK get into the ICW??? did someonen pick it up and throw it? this is just as the the man above said.. sensationalism PERIOD.

Star News released all that information, genius