Enochville man dies after Kannapolis wreck

  • Posted: Wednesday, December 2, 2009 1:20 p.m.

By Joanie Morris
Salisbury Post
KANNAPOLIS An Enochville man died early Wednesday after crashing his car into a building on South Cannon Boulevard Tuesday evening.
Officials at Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte confirmed Wednesday that Benjamin Tyler Poteat, 28, of 5740 Enochville School Road, died from injuries he sustained after his car swerved off the road and hit a building at 3002 S. Cannon Blvd.
According to a report from the Kannapolis Police Department, Michael Thornton told officers that he was driving north on U.S. 29 and when he crossed over Interstate 85, Poteat's 2002 Acura TL passed him "at a high rate of speed in the left lane."
Thornton, who stopped at the scene of the accident, said the Acura had gotten about 100 yards ahead of him when he saw the car turn abruptly to the right, leaving the road. Thornton said that from his location, he didn't see the accident happen, but did see a large cloud of smoke before he stopped to assist.
Kannapolis Police Sgt. Bobby Lear said he was traveling south on Cannon Boulevard when he saw a cloud of dust on the northbound side at about 10:50 p.m.
In his report, Officer T.S. Lafferty noted that the Acura left skid marks 36 feet long on the road, and the car traveled 98 feet off the road before the driver's side door slammed into the right corner of the building.
He estimated the car was traveling at 55 mph before leaving the road, and estimated speed at impact was 50 mph.
The car was registered to Poteat's wife, April, according to the report.
Kannapolis Police officials said Wednesday that a preliminary medical report would be back at the end of the week and there was no indication of alcohol use at the scene.
The Kannapolis Fire Department responded to the scene and found Poteat trapped inside the car and called for a helicopter from Carolinas Medical Center-Charlotte. They closed the northbound lane of Cannon Boulevard and set up a landing zone in the parking lot of the vacant Target building.
Firefighters freed Poteat at 11:19 p.m. and he was then transported by Cabarrus EMS to the helicopter, which flew him to the Charlotte hospital. He died at 3:45 a.m. Wednesday morning.
"What made this a difficult extrication for us was the condition of the structure," said Battalion Chief Tracy Winecoff. "The instability of the flooring made the car unstable. Our firefighters and other personnel on the scene had to keep their safety in mind as they worked to free the driver."
Total damage estimated to the car was $20,000. The building, which belongs to Troutman Enterprises, sustained $10,000 worth of damage.
Keith Troutman said the building was vacant at the time of the accident, but was being fixed up. Now, Troutman said, the building will be leveled.
Family members of Poteat were not available for comment.

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