Pickup truck driver faces DWI charge after NC bicyclist dies in crash, officials say

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The Wilmington Police Department is continuing to investigate a fatal crash last week that left a bicyclist dead and a pickup truck driver charged with DWI.

According to Jennifer Dandron, a spokeswoman for the police department, officers responded to the intersection of Gregory Road and Banbury Lane near Mayfaire around 9:30 p.m. Friday

When officers arrived at the scene, they found a bicyclist, later identified as 34-year-old William Batson of Wilmington, lying in the middle of the intersection. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Dandron said a pickup driver, 45-year-old Brett Alan Matthews of Wilmington, was traveling on Gregory Road and attempted to make a left turn onto Banbury Lane when he struck Batson, who lived just a few hundred feet away.

Matthews was charged with a DWI at the scene and booked into the New Hanover County Jail under a $5,000 bond. He was released from jail after posting bond.

As of Tuesday morning, Dandron said the investigation into the fatal crash and whether additional charges will be filed is ongoing.

One neighbor who lives near the accident site said the area is known for run-ins between bicyclists and drivers.

“To me, to ride a bicycle on these streets, you’ve gotta be out of your mind,” said Charles Ezzell who was returning home shortly after the scene was cleared. “I’ve been run over on a bicycle by a car, so I know how it feels.”

Ezzell points out that there are no sidewalks or buffer zone beside the road.

“People don’t realize how narrow the streets are,” said Ezzell. “And it’s just not made to intermingle bicycles with cars on a street like this. You don’t have sidewalks for them to ride on, so they have to ride on the street.”

If you have any information, please contact the Wilmington Police Department at 343-3609 or send an anonymous tip to Text-A-Tip by texting “CRIMES” (274637) and starting the text with “Tip708.”

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