COLUMBUS COUNTY, NC (WECT) – A man from Whiteville now faces charges in a deadly accident that took the life of a longtime magistrate in Columbus County.
Anthony Ray Cribb is charged with misdemeanor death by motor vehicle. Early Friday evening, troopers said Wayne Piver, 60, died after the Jeep Cherokee he was driving hit part of an oncoming tractor off Gore Trailer Road outside of Whiteville. Cribb was driving that tractor. The Jeep reportedly hit an embankment and landed upside down.
Piver's wife was also in the vehicle at the time of the crash and was taken to the hospital with injuries that did not appear to be life-threatening.
Officer Greg Sibbett with the Tabor City Police Department was on his way to work Friday evening when he drove past the same tractor the Piver hit. He said the tractor was pulling a 16-foot farm disc.
"It was overcast, cloudy, drizzling," Sibbett recalled. "I came around the curve and observed the tractor turn off 701 Highway."
Sibbett said he saw the farm disc cross the yellow line, so he hit the shoulder road.
"The first thing I said is, 'There's going to be an accident,'" said Sibbett. "Once I got to the stop sign, I looked back in the rearview mirror, and I saw the red lights on back of the tractor [shaking.]"
Sibbett later learned Piver and his wife had struck the edge of the disc, causing them to wreck.
"I worked with him a lot. He taught me a lot in law enforcement," said Sibbett.
Piver worked as a magistrate in the county for 29 years. He retired in 2011. Those who knew him best said you could always find him in his office in Tabor City.
"Wayne Piver was a gentleman," said Chief Donald Dowless. "He was an excellent law enforcement officer and very fair. He always stayed calm."