A man found dead in a roadside ditch near Garner on Nov. 8 was alive when a caller reported seeing him there five hours earlier, according to 911 calls released Tuesday.
The man was identified as 34-year-old Kevin Edward Thomas after officials found his body by the side of Old Stage Road near the Green Spring Valley mobile home park on Nov. 8.
A person who called 911 about 7 a.m. indicated the man was alive in the ditch at that time. The caller told the dispatcher they had already passed the person because “I didn’t even realize what I’d seen until I was gone.”
“There’s a pedestrian in the ditch,” the caller said. “I saw him as I was driving by. He’s moving, but moving slowly. He is in a supine position and appears to be partially clothed.”
The caller also stressed the man was not easy to locate.
“It’s hard to see, man – I’m telling you,” they said.
Wake County Sheriff’s Office spokesman John Dee Jones said deputies and Garner emergency responders searched for the man but were unable to locate him.
When a sheriff’s deputy arrived on scene to assist emergency responders, they had already left, Jones said.
“The deputy was riding down the road … he said he rode by and looked for (emergency responders) and didn’t see them, so he turned around at the mobile home park.”
Jones said EMS arrived on scene at 7:13 a.m. and left seven minutes later, at 7:20 a.m.
Five hours later, at noon, the same caller dialed 911 again after returning to the site and finding Thomas, whom the caller said appeared dead.
“I called at 7 o’clock this morning,” the caller said in the second 911 call. “I saw him in the ditch on the way by. This poor guy’s been laying here in the freaking ditch. He might not have made it. I think he’s dead.”
Jones did not offer further details.
Jeff Hammerstein, an assistant chief with Wake County Emergency Medical Services, said on Tuesday that the agency is prohibited from commenting on specific cases.
David Ellis, the interim county manager, declined to comment on an active investigation by the sheriff’s office.