Brunswick Co. Sheriff’s Office says drug investigation led to fatal wreck; family disputes sheriff’s version of events

Published: Jul. 11, 2022 at 11:14 AM EDT|Updated: Jul. 11, 2022 at 6:05 PM EDT
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BOLIVIA, N.C. (WECT) - A law enforcement pursuit that ended in a fatal crash was part of a months-long narcotics investigation, according to the Brunswick County Sheriff’s Office.

Tyrance Benbow died in the wreck Friday night.

During a news conference Monday, the sheriff’s office said it had received information that Benbow and others would be traveling to South Carolina to get cocaine to bring back into the county.

The sheriff’s office says that law enforcement attempted to pull Benbow over but he sped away, going over 100 miles per hour.

“Mr. Benbow sped away and our agent followed,” said Sheriff John Ingram. “The speed got up over 100 miles an hour, and at that time our agent attempted to conduct a traffic stop. Then Mr. Benbow continued to travel north on 17 at a higher rate of speed, refusing to stop.”

They say after he turned onto N.C. 130, Benbow’s vehicle went off the side of the road, and when he overcorrected, he swerved into the other lane and struck another vehicle.

According to the sheriff’s office, Benbow was thrown from the vehicle, which landed on top of him.

The couple and the three children in the other vehicle suffered minor injuries.

The sheriff also addressed information circulating online about the incident. He said a deputy who has been accused of being at the scene of the wreck was not involved and was in Charlotte for a funeral at the time, and that threats and allegations made against them will not be tolerated.

“I want to be real clear about this,” said Sheriff Ingram. “We are not going to stand idly by and let somebody come into our community and terrorize it. And if you think that threats are going to deter us from doing our job, is simply not going to happen. If someone comes in to this community and attempts to do that, once we deal with that situation, we’re going to make sure that everybody that’s been involved in those meetings and setting this up are held accountable as well.”

Benbow’s family was not at the press conference, but spoke to WECT after it ended. They say that Benbow was harassed by law enforcement, and they’ve been given no answers when it comes to the investigation. They said no one let them know there was a press conference happening on Monday.

“You haven’t allowed her to see her child, but you’re gonna hold a press conference publicly about him and she still hasn’t seen him,” said Benbow’s Sister Lakedria LaSelle. “You’re gonna go on and put that on for her to be able to see that yet something else about her child and you’re not communicating. That’s torture.”

Benbow’s mother shared the same grievances.

“Everybody gets the news before me,” said Benbow’s mother Becky LaSalle. “And they’re, you know, they’ll call me and tell me what’s going on. But I know nothing about my child. Nothing, that the only thing I know is that he was killed in an accident.”

The State Highway Patrol is still investigating the wreck.

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