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Witness Describes Crash Involving Officer
For the first time in 41 years, the Asheville Police Department is mourning the death of an officer killed in the line of duty. Senior officer Robert Bingaman died Tuesday when his cruiser crashed off the Jeff Bowen Memorial Bridge. He was 37-years-old.
Beau Singletary of Hendersonville says the patrol car passed him and that Bingaman then attempted to change lanes and pass another vehicle.
"I guess he overcompensated, because there wasn't room to pass the car he was trying to pass.. and he literally just hit the very edge of the rail and literally just put his car airborne.. and the next thing I know, I see the patrol car just fly off the bridge," said Singletary.
First-responders rushed to the scene, but soon found their job would be extremely difficult, slow and painstaking.
"It was a touchy situation, we had to definitely stabilize that vehicle, using every tool, and everything we could just to stabilize before being able to move the officer," said Kelley Klope with the Asheville Fire Department.
Once rescue crews managed that, Bingaman was rushed to Mission Hospital. We still do not know what the senior officer was doing when the accident happened and whether he was answering a call.
"He certainly didn't have his lights on and didn't look as if he was in pursuit. He was approximately doing 70,"
We need to keep in mind, that is just one witness' perception. Chief Anderson says it is still not known whether speed might have been a factor. Officer Bingaman's car was finally pulled from the bridge pylon Tuesday night and taken away to be used in the Highway Patrol Investigation.
Troopers say they have completed accident reconstruction, but no details are being released at this point.