Man's body exhumed for autopsy Officials open investigation into Michael Brown's May death

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 2, 2009

By Shavonne Potts

Salisbury Post

ROCKWELL — The wind blew slightly Tuesday morning as employees of Brook Hill Memorial Gardens lifted from the ground the casket of Michael Jason Brown.

Last May, family members and other loved ones buried Brown, 27, after he died when his motorized scooter overturned on U.S. 52.

Law enforcement officials on Jan. 8 received permission to exhume Brown’s body for an autopsy. Investigators want to know the extent of injuries he might have suffered in the collision. No autopsy was performed at the time of Brown’s death.

The petition to exhume Brown’s body was approved by Superior Court Judge John L. Holshouser Jr. It states that Brown was struck by a vehicle going in the opposite direction.

Sheriff George Wilhelm said Brown’s body was taken to the Medical Examiner’s Office Tuesday morning and returned to the cemetery later in the day.

The Sheriff’s Office has not confirmed details of the wreck. Witnesses came forward months after the accident, but no charges have been filed. Wilhelm said that while the N.C. Highway Patrol initially investigated the wreck and determined it was an accident, his office was later asked to look into the matter.

In his report, Trooper E.B. Purdue said Brown was driving his scooter north on U.S. 52 toward Granite Quarry at about 45 mph.

The scooter crossed the double-yellow line and overturned on its side near the intersection of Sides Road and U.S. 52. The scooter traveled 61 feet after overturning.

Contacted Tuesday by phone, Michael Brown’s grandmother, Betty Brown, declined comment.

Contact Shavonne Potts at 704-797-4253 or