Wrightsville Beach Police Department issued arrest warrants for the driver and passenger of a Chevrolet Tahoe involved in a Saturday afternoon crash on Waynick Boulevard that injured another driver and downed power lines, causing an hours-long electrical outage and traffic jams.
Police are searching for 29-year-old Matthew Branson, a white male from Thomasville, NC who is the registered owner of the champagne-colored SUV and is believed to be the driver at the time of the crash, and 25-year-old Lacey Alexander, a white female from Monroe, NC who police believe to be the passenger. Branson’s warrant lists several charges, including DWI, felony hit and run, felony littering, open container, possession of marijuana, possession of marijuana paraphernalia, and failure to report accident. Alexander’s charges are for open container, possession of drug paraphernalia, and for failure to report an accident.
The wreck occurred around 4:30 p.m. Saturday on Waynick near Arrindale St. The Tahoe hit a dark blue BMW, which was found in the northbound lane with minor front-end and tire damage. The BMW’s female driver was transported to the hospital with minor injuries.
The SUV was found with heavy front-end damage in front of 130 Waynick Blvd., where it had hit and split a utility pole and caused power lines to fall across the boulevard. According to witnesses, a man and a woman were seen exiting the Tahoe and leaving the scene on foot. When police searched the vehicle, they found several open containers of alcohol as well as drug paraphernalia.
Duke Energy was called in to clear the downed lines, and once that was done, police were able to allow one lane of traffic on each side. Officers also had to direct traffic at the intersection of Waynick Boulevard and Causeway Drive because the lights were out. The power outage lasted more than eight hours and affected residents and business on both Harbor Island and Wrightsville Beach’s south end.