RALEIGH — From staff reports
A 62-year-old woman found dead inside her car Monday three days after it had been pulled from a ditch died of blunt-force injuries to her head and neck, according to the state medical examiner’s office.
The death of Carolyn Ann Watkins of Clayton is being investigated by the State Bureau of Investigation because her body was apparently overlooked after the red 2009 Pontiac she was driving was spotted wedged in a ditch off Swift Creek Road by an off-duty state trooper Friday morning.
The off-duty trooper, the on-duty trooper who investigated the accident and the tow truck operator all failed to see Watkins’s body behind deployed air bags in the car. State Highway Patrol Trooper Marlon D. Williams, a nine-year veteran of the Highway Patrol, concluded his accident report by noting that there was “No driver at the scene of this collision.”
Smithfield police detectives found Watkins’s body Monday morning in a towing company lot in Willow Creek after her family reported her missing when she did not show up for work at Wendy’s on Brightleaf Boulevard in Smithfield.
Williams is on paid administrative leave pending the SBI’s completion of its investigation.
Investigators have not yet said how the car Watkins was driving managed to leave the road and crash into a ditch.