While law enforcement has not released any information, one Surry County emergency services official says there is a chance foul play was involved in a Monday night wreck that killed one person and sent four others to hospitals.
Surry County Emergency Services Director John Shelton said Thursday afternoon he hasn’t heard anything more about the accident through official channels, but investigators speculate that the vehicle could have been forced off the road, resulting in the accident.
“The gentleman (involved in the accident) said he had been run off the road,” Shelton said. “And several witnesses have said that, but it’s still under investigation as far as I know.”
Emergency responders received a call at around 6:18 p.m. Monday that an accident had occurred on U.S. 52 in the northbound lane between the Pilot Mountain and Cook School Road exits.
After arriving on the scene, officials said they believed the passenger vehicle left the roadway, struck the guard rail and continued some distance down the roadway before reaching an embankment and landing in Tom’s Creek.
Two patients, a male and a female, were transported to Northern Hospital, while two other passengers, also a male and a female, were transported to a hospital in Winston-Salem. Another passenger was killed.
Shelton said the five occupants in the vehicle appear to have been members of the same family who had been visiting relatives in Raleigh and were returning to their home in Canada. The victim who was killed in the crash has been identified as 78-year old Kandaben Ramanlol Prajapti from Scarbouough, Ontario, Canada.
The emergency services director said Prajapti appears to have been thrown from the vehicle into the water. Cause of death has been tentatively listed as drowning with head injuries being a secondary cause.
The other female occupants of the car who were transferred to Wake Forest Baptist Health and treated have been identified as Sushila Oza (59) and Minibew Parajapti (47) who has been identified as the wife of Prakash Parajapti (51) who was also an occupant in the vehicle. Shelton said the driver of the vehicle has been identified as Mahendra Oza (71).
The accident is still under investigation, according to Shelton.
Multiple attempts to reach investigators with the North Carolina Highway Patrol have been unsuccessful.