Funeral arrangements set for Asheville officer who died in crash - WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC

Funeral arrangements set for Asheville officer who died in crash

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Photo of fallen officer Robert Bingaman, provided by Asheville Police. Photo of fallen officer Robert Bingaman, provided by Asheville Police.
Asheville Police Officer Robert Bingaman died after his car went over the Jeff Bowen Bridge. (FOX Carolina) Asheville Police Officer Robert Bingaman died after his car went over the Jeff Bowen Bridge. (FOX Carolina)
Asheville Police Officer Robert Bingaman died after his car went over the Jeff Bowen Bridge. (FOX Carolina) Asheville Police Officer Robert Bingaman died after his car went over the Jeff Bowen Bridge. (FOX Carolina)
Asheville Police Officer Robert Bingaman died after his car went over the Jeff Bowen Bridge. (FOX Carolina) Asheville Police Officer Robert Bingaman died after his car went over the Jeff Bowen Bridge. (FOX Carolina)
Asheville Police Chief William Anderson holds a news conference. (FOX Carolina) Asheville Police Chief William Anderson holds a news conference. (FOX Carolina)
ASHEVILLE, NC (FOX Carolina) -

Investigators are examining the vehicle of an Asheville police officer who died after the car plummeted from a bridge Tuesday afternoon.

Senior Police Officer Robert Bingaman, 37, died in the accident.

The crash is being investigated by the North Carolina State Highway Patrol. Trooper Gene Williamson said an accident reconstruction team is interviewing witnesses and examining the car.

He said the airbag deployed, but officials do not know if the officer's seatbelt was on.

It happened on I-240 westbound near mile marker 3 around 1:20 p.m., closing two lanes on the Jeff Bowen Bridge.

In an emotional news conference Tuesday afternoon, Asheville Police Chief William J. Anderson said Bingaman served for six years with the Asheville Police Department.

"This is a great loss for our department, the city of Asheville and our community," said Anderson. "He paid the ultimate sacrifice."

Anderson said he could not say whether Bingaman was on his way to a call at the time of the wreck, but that he always "came to work and did his job, and he did it well."

Traffic was slowed for hours as crews worked to map out the wreck as they investigated how Bingaman's car ended up under the bridge.

Drivers in Asheville stopped to see the car as investigators worked and firefighters and tow crews removed the patrol car from the scene. Many said they were shocked to hear that a car, much less a police car, had gone off the bridge. 

"We appreciate what [the police department does] for us and our thoughts and prayers are with them and with his family," said Christie Houser of Asheville.

Tuesday afternoon, Greenville Police tweeted, "The GPD would like to convey our sympathy to Asheville Police Department. They lost one of their own today. RIP Officer Bingaman!"

Trooper Gene Williamson with NC Highway Patrol said an accident reconstruction team is interviewing witnesses and examining the car.

Flags were flown at half-staff in Asheville in honor of the fallen officer.

The funeral for Bingaman is scheduled for 10 a.m., Monday, Nov. 4 at Biltmore Baptist Church, 35 Clayton Road, Asheville. The funeral will be followed by a burial at Western NC State Veteran's Cemetery in Black Mountain, according to the website for Morris Funeral Home.

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