‘A phantom car crash’: WPD releases body cam footage from River Rd. car crash

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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Newly released video from Wilmington Police shows what happened the night of April 15, when a car crashed off River Road. That car belonged to a missing Wilmington couple.

Paige Escalera and Stephanie Mayorga were reported missing by their roommate on April 19th, just days after the crash. Their bodies wouldn’t be found until around two weeks later.

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The video is body camera footage from Wilmington Police which shows what happened the night Escalera’s car crashed off the intersection of River Road and Independence Boulevard.

The 911 caller who reported the crash told dispatch he saw a car in his rear-view mirror flying through the intersection. An officer met him on the scene as the caller described what he saw.

“I turned right,” he said. “I got like here. In my mirror, a car came from here and drove so fast there, and I saw with my mirror it went inside the trees. ‘He went in the trees? He didn’t go into that pathway?’ No he wasn’t able to take the turn.”

The callers told the officer he saw the car speeding down Independence and disappear into the wooded area. The officer is seen on the video getting back in his car and driving around searching for Escalera’s car. However, the car was not found that night.

“We’re looking for a phantom car crash,” the officer said in the video. “He says he didn’t see or smell any sign of a crash.

The caller was convinced the car flew straight into the trees, but officers again say in the video there’s a pathway past Independence Blvd.

“We’re not finding anything,” the officer said. “We’re not finding anything. You guys are good. We can’t find anything.”

After officers spent only around eight minutes on the scene, the officer can be heard calling to clear the scene.

“We’re unable to locate any vehicle that appears to be crashed up and down River Road or near the intersection,” he said. “You can clear all units off of this.”

It wasn’t until two weeks later that police went back to the scene and found the car with the missing Wilmington couple.

Newly released drone footage also shows the car being pulled out of the woods, covered in vegetation. Police say it was almost completely covered and officers would not have been able to see it the night of the crash.