WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Wilmington Police Department’s Traffic Unit closed a section of Wrightsville Avenue between Colonial Dr. and Stewart Circle at 9:30 p.m. Wednesday night for several hours as part of an investigation into a deadly police high speed chase over the weekend.
Drivers were advised to avoid this area while police conduct a survey of the road.
Earlier this week, Thomas Willoughby Jr. allegedly led deputies on a chase Sunday morning after an armed robbery at the Walmart in Porter’s Neck.
Willoughby allegedly ran red lights and rammed a deputy’s vehicle before crashing into a Jeep at Wrightsville Avenue and Country Club Road in Wilmington.
51-year-old Sean Evans was thrown from his Jeep and died at the scene.
Those who knew Evans, such as tenant and friend Cindy Colucci, are mourning the loss.
“He was very understanding,” she said. “You know, if the rent was going to be late, you knew that he still had your back.”
Colucci says when she heard the news that Evans had been ejected from his Jeep and killed, she didn’t believe it at first.
“I started calling his phone and it was going straight to voicemail,” she said. “And I was texting him and saying, ‘Please tell me you’re okay. Call me.’ And they weren’t going through. And the whole time my heart was just sinking.”
Willoughby appeared in New Hanover County court Monday morning on multiple charges including first-degree murder. His passenger is also facing charges.
Colucci says she’s unsure what Evans’ death means for her and other tenants of apartments he owned.
“The first couple of days, I was in just such shock that I wasn’t even considering that aspect of it,” she says, “but obviously, it’s something that we’ll have to think about.”
There is no word yet on funeral services for Evans.