Cabarrus County authorities and the N.C. Highway Patrol are stepping up efforts to locate the hit-and-run driver of a vehicle who struck a 14-year-old boy last month on Interstate 85 near Kannapolis.
Investigators say the teen apparently committed suicide, but Cabarrus County officials say the family of the teen is looking for answers and some closure in the case.
The sheriffs office in Cabarrus County and the Highway Patrol are distributing a flyer to Crime Stopper programs around the country and to sheriffs offices in North Carolina and elsewhere along the East Coast, in an effort to find the driver.
The teen, identified as Derick John Thomason, is thought to have jumped from the Lane Street bridge at Exit 63 onto southbound I-85 sometime around 3 a.m. Feb. 23. His body was spotted by a motorist later that Saturday morning.
An N.C. Highway Patrol investigation determined that Thomason attempted suicide.
The Independent-Tribune of Concord reported in a story last month that Thomason had sent a note via Facebook to a friend before leaving his home and apparently walking about 2 miles to the I-85 bridge. The Concord newspaper reported in its story that Thomason had been diagnosed with Aspergers syndrome and had been ridiculed at school.
According to the report, Thomason told his friend that he couldnt take the abuse any longer.
Deputy Sara Price of the Cabarrus County Sheriffs Office said Tuesday that authorities are tying to get more information for the grieving family and friends of this young man.
She said authorities are casting a wide net with the flyers, adding, It may be that whoever hit this young man did not realize it at the time, and it is very likely they are not from our area.
Authorities are asking that anyone who was driving on I-85 near Exit 63 between 2:30 a.m. and noon Feb. 23 and saw anything related to the case to call either Crime Stoppers of Cabarrus County, 704-932-7463, or contact the N.C. Highway Patrol at 704-855-1047 or troopEHQ@ncshp.org.