Gunshot wound, not crash, killed man, medical examiner determines

October 14, 1994|By Richard Irwin | Richard Irwin,Sun Staff Writer

A man who police thought was killed as a result of his pickup truck crashing into the wall of an MTA garage at the intersection of Ward and Bush streets early yesterday morning actually died from a gunshot wound sustained shortly before the accident, police said.

What was believed to have been a fatal traffic accident has been changed to a homicide investigation.

Police said several hours after Scott Frederick Castleberry, 32, of the 600 block of E. Clement St., died from apparently being struck in the back of the head by a metal boat in the rear of his pickup truck that moved forward when the vehicle struck the wall, a state medical examiner discovered a bullet wound in the man's upper body.

Homicide detectives were notified shortly before 10 a.m., more than eight hours after the crash, and were back-tracking the man's actions to determine where he had been and with whom before the accident around 1:30 a.m. yesterday.

"We have a lot of questions that don't have answers right now," said a detective.

The detective said the shooting probably occurred a short distance from the accident scene and declined to speculate why the man was in the neighborhood.

The man's body was found under the pickup truck's --board when police arrived in the 1400 block of Ward St., and that evidence at the scene pointed to the man dying when the boat struck his neck.

Homicide detectives believe the man was attempting to escape his killer and was actually dying when he crashed into the wall. The vehicle left no skid marks, causing traffic police to originally believe he either fell asleep at the wheel or was intoxicated and lost control of the pickup.

There was an odor of alcohol about the body and two unopened beer bottles in the vehicle, police said.

A homicide detective said there was little blood at the scene and that traffic police and fire department and ambulance personnel did not notice the bullet wound since it was assumed he died at the scene from injuries received in the accident.

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