73-year-old Surry County man run over by tractor
LOWGAP (AP) — Authorities say a 73-year-old Surry County man has died after he was pulled under the tractor he was starting.
Surry County EMS Director John Shelton said the man was standing in front of the tractor’s wheel when he started it around 3 p.m. Saturday.
Shelton says the tractor was in gear, and the man was run over and pinned under the machine.
Authorities say the tractor was older and didn’t have a mechanism to keep it from starting while in gear.
Shelton says the man’s wife and grandson were nearby when the victim was pinned. His name has not been released.
2 children die in Guilford County fire
GIBSONVILLE (AP) — Investigators say a space heater caused a fire that killed two children in Guilford County.
Authorities said the grandfather of 4-year-old Matthew Ridge-Powls and 1-year-old Jade Hawks tried to rescue them from both inside and outside the home after the fire started around 6:45 a.m. Saturday, but couldn’t save them.
Investigators say the children’s bodies were found together in the same bed.
Firefighters say the blaze started when a space heater got too close to some combustible material. It has been ruled an accident.
Authorities say the home didn’t have working smoke detectors.
NC 12 closed as storm floods Outer Banks road
RODANTHE (AP) — A coastal storm again closed the only highway to Hatteras Island on the Outer Banks.
N.C. Highway 12 was closed for about 18 hours from the Bonner Bridge to Rodanthe after a nor’easter pushed seawater and sand on to parts of the two-lane highway, the North Carolina Department of Transportation said.
The highway reopened around 2 p.m. Sunday after crews inspected it and determined the pavement wasn’t damaged, officials said.
The storm also caused problems on Ocracoke Island as sand and water washed over the only link to ferries to Hatteras Island, said Hyde County spokeswoman Megan Shaw.
The road was never impassible, but officials were recommending no one try to drive on it for several hours overnight. Emergency officials have told ambulance services to only use helicopters to get anyone who needs medical help off the island, Shaw said Sunday.
The section of NC 12 that was closed on Hatteras Island is in the same area where the pavement was torn up by Superstorm Sandy in October. The highway was closed for nearly two months to repair that damage, leaving the island only accessible by air and emergency ferries.
NC State wants to sell research forest on coast
RALEIGH (AP) — About 20 potential buyers are interested in buying 80,000 acres of forest along the coast that has been used for research by North Carolina State University for eight decades.
The News & Observer of Raleigh reports buyers have until March 29 to put in bids for the Hofmann Forest in Onslow and Jones counties.
State Natural Resources Foundation Executive Director David Ashcraft says the buyer of the forest will provide access to current research and for future studies.
But critics of the sale say it won’t make as much money because timber prices are low and the land is an important asset for education. The university’s Faculty Senate has approved a resolution asking to stop the sale so there can be more discussion.
DOT seeks comments on Walk Bike plan
RALEIGH (AP) — The North Carolina Transportation Department is seeking public comments on the first draft of the Walk Bike NC statewide pedestrian and bicycle plan, which will guide how the state invests in walking and bicycling.
The public is invited to review the plan online and submit comments until April 30.
The state wants to create a blueprint to improve walking and bicycling in communities. Officials say investing in sidewalks, bike lanes and greenways benefit communities at a low cost.
Those benefits include promoting physical health, reducing traffic congestion and fostering local businesses by encouraging foot traffic.
Man dies after barn explodes
in Johnston County
FOUR OAKS, N.C. (AP) — Authorities say they found a body behind a Johnson County barn after an explosion.
Investigators said the blast was reported near Four Oaks around 9 a.m. Saturday.
Authorities say the cause of the explosion isn’t known, but items needed to make methamphetamine were found in the barn.
An autopsy has been ordered to identify the victim and determine how the person died.
Residents of a nearby mobile home park were evacuated while firefighters put out a blaze sparked by the explosion.