Rockwell man among victims in crashes

Published 12:00 am Saturday, September 29, 2012

By Karissa Minn and Shavonne Potts
SPENCER — Two men died Friday in separate Rowan County crashes, and authorities say neither one was wearing a seat belt.
Jeffrey Paul Swicegood, 33, of Nazareth Home Road in Rockwell, died early Friday morning returning home from work in the eastern part of the county.
Another man is dead and two others were sent to the hospital just after noon when the sport-utility vehicle they were in overturned on northbound Interstate 85, near exit 79 at Spencer.
David Lockhart, 70, of Washington, D.C., was ejected from the vehicle and died on the scene, investigators said. He was riding in a rear passenger’s seat of the gold SUV. Sitting up front were his two brothers, J.B. Lockhart, 72, of Fort Washington, Md., and vehicle owner Clarence Lockhart, 67, of Landover, Md.
David’s brothers were wearing their seat belts, but it appeared that he was not wearing his, said Trooper C.J. Doty with the N.C. State Highway Patrol.
According to Doty, J.B. Lockhart was driving and said he “blanked out” near exit 79. No other vehicles were involved in the accident.
“The front seat passenger (Clarence) said he thought he saw him dozing off and called his name,” Doty said. “When the driver heard his name, he swerved to the right and then to the left. He did this several times before the vehicle rolled over four times.”
Clarence was flown to Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem, where he was listed in stable condition Friday night. J.B. was taken to Rowan Regional Medical Center and later released.
Doty said the accident is still under investigation, and he’s unsure whether any charges will be filed.
The wreck closed all but one lane on northbound I-85 for more than two hours Friday afternoon.
Early morning wreck
Rockwell resident Swicegood was leaving the Boat and Ski Club on Goodman Lake Road, where he worked, when he fell asleep at 12:53 a.m.
Swicegood, who was traveling on Union Church Road at Stokes Ferry Road, was just 10 minutes from his house when the single-vehicle accident occurred.
“He was on his way home. That is the route he would’ve taken,” said Trooper E.B. Perdue of the N.C. Highway Patrol.
The road curved to the right, Perdue said, but Swicegood kept going straight and struck a tree. There were no skid marks that indicated Swicegood tried to stop or slow down.
His family told the trooper Swicegood had no medical conditions.
Rowan County paramedics came upon the collision while returning to their station and found Swicegood already dead.
He was not restrained but was not thrown from his 1995 Ford passenger vehicle.
Contact reporter Karissa Minn at 704-797-4222.