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Person identified in fatal wreck in Washington County

Officials said Thursday Lee Deshawn Norman, 26, was the person killed in the accident in Washington County. (Stephanie Brown, NewsChannel 12 photo)

One person is dead following an accident in Washington County.

A trooper with the NC Highway Patrol said the accident happened at 9:35 a.m. Thursday near Roper. Lee Deshawn Norman, 26, of Plymouth, was traveling west on Newland Road when the 2007 Chrysler van he was driving lost control, overturned and fell into a water-filled canal.

Officials said only Norman, who was wearing a seat belt, was in the vehicle. Earlier reports, including one from Gov. Roy Cooper, said there were two people who died.

The NCHP trooper said the road was covered in snow but an investigation continues to determine the cause of the accident and Norman's death. Earlier, the Washington County Sheriff said that the crash was weather related.

Thursday morning, Cooper held a press conference to warn Eastern North Carolina residents to stay off the roads because of an increase in accidents in the local area.

Later in the day, a press release about Cooper's conference was sent out. It said the following:

"One traffic fatality has been reported in rural Washington County, near Roper, where a vehicle went off the road and overturned in a canal. The single occupant of that vehicle died. Initial reports said a passenger had also died but investigators have determined that there was no passenger in the vehicle."

The fatal accident in Washington County is just one of many wrecks across the state. The State Highway Patrol reports more than 3,500 calls for service since the storm began including more than 2,000 collisions, with an uptick in crashes Thursday morning, officials said in a press release.

"This is not the day to drive in the snow," Cooper said. "I've said it before, but I can't say it enough: the snow is beautiful, but driving in it can be treacherous. Don't drive unless you absolutely must."

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