RALEIGH, N.C. (AP/WBTV) - Authorities have confirmed a fourth North Carolina death because of the winter storm that blanketed the state.
Surf City Police Chief Ron Shanahan released a statement that officers found a vehicle submerged in a canal during the snow storm early Thursday and were investigating the cause. Shanahan said 20-year-old Dax Christopher Baker was found dead inside.
State Emergency Management spokesman Keith Acree said Friday that investigators have determined the winter storm caused the driver to slide off the road and into the canal.
During a Thursday morning press conference, Gov. Roy Cooper announced that three North Carolinians died during the storm.
One person died when their pickup truck overturned in a creek in Moore County, Cooper said. Another death was reported in Beaufort County.
"The winds out there have been ferocious," Cooper said of the storm that's making its way through the eastern part of the state.
Driving conditions remain hazardous. State officials say they have responded to more than 1,000 emergency calls, with at least 700 of them being traffic-related.
"These temperatures are going to get even colder," Cooper said, as he went over safety precautions.
A shelter is currently open in Columbus County for those who need it.
Cooper said the National Guard remains ready to respond to storm-induced incidents.
Residents can receive updates on ReadyNC.org or by calling 211. Those hard of hearing can dial 888-892-1162 for assistance.
"Stay safe Noth Carolina," Cooper said.