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SUV careens into the Little Shallotte River

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It was a scary night for two Brunswick County residents when their SUV careened into the Little Shallotte River. Luckily both passengers got out okay, but not before a chilly swim to shore.

Carolyn Whaley, who escaped from the partially submerged vehicle, said “I just seen this water coming in at us and me trying to get out the door, and it was just rushing in to us,”

Amid the pitch dark, muddy and frigid water of the Little Shallotte River, sits a Chevy Tahoe submerged beyond its door handles.

“It was scary,” Whaley added.

According to highway patrol, at about six o’clock Tuesday night, the driver, Joseph Babson, was parked along the banks of the river off Shell Point Road with his SUV facing the river.

Carolyn Whaley was sitting in the passenger seat. “We were sitting there talking, and I thought it was in reverse. And he give it the gas, and when he give it the gas, we went forward in the water. And I had to jump out.”

The driver also got out okay, but his car met with a different fate. After hitting the water, the white Tahoe floated several feet down the river.

Civietown Assistant Fire Chief, Mark Hewett said “Very strange this is the first time, we’ve ever had one float away.”

Civietown firefighters worked for hours to tug it out, but Mother Nature stood in the way.

“The tide, it’s actually stuck in the mud, and we don’t have enough water to get it out. We’ll have to come back in the morning,” Hewett said.

The white Tahoe is more than likely totaled, an unfortunate accident that’s left Carolyn Whaley happy to be alive.

“It could have been bad. If we didn’t get out of there we could have easily drowned,” Whaley said.

There were no charges against the driver Joseph Babson and so far there’s been no evidence of fuel or oil contamination in the water.

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Story summary

It was a scary night for two Brunswick County residents when their SUV careened into the Little Shallotte River. Luckily both passengers got out okay, but not before a chilly swim to shore.

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