NC inmate escapes, dies in crash less than two hours later

GASTONIA, NC (WWAY) — A Gaston County inmate was killed in a crash Monday afternoon after officials said he stole a work truck while on work detail.

The Department of Public Safety said the inmate, identified as David Woods, was serving a sentence at Gaston Correctional Center. Woods was reported missing just before 1 p.m.

According to a news release, Woods is from New Hanover County.

The North Carolina Department of Corrections said Woods was a minimum custody inmate. He was serving a sentence for second-degree murder and had dozens of infractions while in prison.

Officials said Woods was driving a city of Lowell Ford pickup truck when it crashed at Exit 14 off I-85.

“I seen that truck just going in the air and just flipping over, over, and over and going into this ravine right there. And then after that I’d seen a bunch of smoke and dirt and everything. It was pretty devastating,” witness Ruth Varney said.

Gastonia police are investigating the accident. The Division of Prisons will investigate the circumstances surrounding the inmate’s escape.

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