Vehicle flipped just east of Havelock

A Newport man who escaped serious injury when he rolled his sport utility vehicle Tuesday was later found unconscious of an apparent drug overdose, authorities said.

Corey Davis Pritchett Jr., 25, of Newport, was transported to Carteret HealthCare in Morehead City. His condition was not available.

Pritchett was driving a 1996 Ford Expedition west on U.S. 70 toward Havelock when he lost control of the vehicle and flipped over about 12:20 p.m. about one mile east of the city.

Pritchett declined treatment from by Havelock Fire and Rescue Department personnel, who responded to the crash.

Trooper D.M. Davis, of the N.C. Highway Patrol, told Pritchett that he could catch a ride with the tow truck picking up the damaged vehicle only as far as the Food Lion in Havelock.

About two hours later, a rescue call came in from Food Lion that a man had been found in and out of consciousness in the bathroom of the grocery store and that he had blood on his face.

Havelock Police Chief David Magnusson said that a syringe was found near Pritchett, and that Pritchett did have a needle mark in his arm.

“In my opinion he shot up a narcotic,” Magnusson said. “We have to think it was an illegal substance, most likely heroin.”

Magnusson said Pritchett said he wasn’t a diabetic, which eliminated the need for him to have a needle to inject insulin.

“Based on his appearance and based on his slurred speech, we’re pretty confident it was an illegal substance,” Magnusson said.

Pritchett has not been charged with possession of a narcotic.

After the crash, Pritchett twice kicked the side of his vehicle and sat on the grass with his head in his hands.

The red four-door SUV righted itself and ended up sideways in the median strip. Dirt picked up by the vehicle’s sideways slide through the grassy median showered onto both of the eastbound lanes of the highway.

At the scene of the crash, Pritchett told the Havelock News that he was headed west into Havelock in the left lane when another vehicle came up from behind him at a high rate of speed, causing him to lose control.

“He wasn’t really involved. It was just the way he came up behind me,” said Pritchett. “He comes up behind me and skirts in front of me. I almost felt like he was about to hit my vehicle so I swerved off the road, which was a bad idea because the tires caught the mud and sent me into a fish tail and flipped over.”

Davis told Pritchett, who had a few scrapes, that he was fortunate not to have been injured seriously in the crash.

“That’s not the problem. I would rather be hurt and on my deathbed than have to deal with the court system,” Pritchett said.

According to the North Carolina Courts website, Pritchett was scheduled to have a court appearance Tuesday for felony flee to elude arrest with a motor vehicle, resisting a public officer, driving while impaired and driving while license revoked in Carteret County.

Pritchett was cited by Davis for driving while license revoked and for reckless driving for the wreck.

Traffic in the eastbound lane was stopped for about 30 minutes while a tow truck removed the vehicle and while fire crews sprayed mud off the highway.