APD Senior Officer Rob Bingaman. Photo from the city of Asheville.
***UPDATED 4:30 p.m.:*** At a press conference this afternoon, Asheville Police Department Chief William Anderson announced that the crash killed Senior Officer Rob Bingaman, 37. The State Highway Patrol is investigating the wreck, and police officials said it’s still too early to know many details.
“it gives me great sadness to report that today we lost one of our own,” Anderson said. “He honorably served this community for six years. It goes without saying that this is a great loss for our department, the city of Asheville, and our community.”
“We don’t have a lot of information,” Anderson emphasized, noting that what was happening at the time of the crash is part of the investigation, though he said no other vehicles were involved. He confirmed the APD is setting up counseling for its officers to assist them through “this tragic situation.” He added that Bingaman, a traffic safety officer, was “a great guy who did his job.”
Anderson also warned that the media needs to be very careful to get correct information, and “I’m sure there’s going to be a lot of buzz on social media, a lot of misinformation, and that’s not going to help anyone.”
Chief William Anderson, city staff, and APD officers gather to announce Bingaman’s death. Photo by Caitlin Byrd
The original report from this afternoon is below:
The APD car in between the spans of the Jeff Bowen bridge.
According to multiple reports from Twitter users and news outlets, an Asheville Police Department car went off the Jeff Bowen Bridge and fell onto Riverside Drive below.
News 13’s Frank Fraboni reports around 1:30 p.m., there seems to be an extrication mission underway. Rescue workers strapped the back end of the vehicle to the piling of the bridge. Emergency responders have brought out a black drape.
This from local photographer Bill Rhodes, talking to eyewitnesses at the scene:
And from local photographer Max Cooper, who’s also on the scene:
No word yet from the city on the condition of the APD officer.
Here’s an aggregation of tweets and photos from people near and on the scene.