Man slams into tree off I-40

A Catawba County man is lucky to be alive after running his car off an exit ramp and slamming into a tree Friday night.

Jamie Lee Abernathy was driving on the I-40 westbound off-ramp at exit 135 on Friday night when he drove off the road and slammed into a tree at a high speed.

Police say Abernathy sustained a cut to his forehead in the accident and was taken to Catawba Valley Medical Center with minor injuries. His car was totaled in the wreck.

Claremont police say Abernathy was intoxicated, and authorities are still investigating what caused the wreck.

Claremont rescue and fire departments also responded to the crash.

Catawba County incidents

Thieves stole multiple guns from a Conover residence on Friday night, including a muzzleloader and 12-gauge shotgun.

Police say unknown suspects entered the home of Adam Darrell Mullins, 30, of 1654 Amy Drive in Conover, and stole a camouflage muzzle loader, 12-gauge shotgun and black eye scope.

The muzzleloader is valued at $300, while the shotgun costs about $500, according to a Catawba County Sheriff’s Office report.


Thieves broke into a church’s storage shed Friday night and stole lawn equipment valued at more than $1,000.

Police say the burglars broke into the Startown First Baptist Church at 2615 Sigmon Dairy Road in Newton and stole an array of lawn equipment items. According to the Catawba County Sheriff’s Office, the crooks took a backpack leaf blower, two weed eaters and a backpack sprayer. The items are valued at a total of $1,100.


Unknown suspects used pry tools to break into a Conover residence on Sunday to steal tools, computers and cameras.

Police say the thieves entered a residence at 6391 N.C. 16 in Conover and stole items belonging to Donald Lee Smith of Taylorsville.

According to reports, the thieves stole assorted vehicle and hand tools, a desktop computer and a 35-millimeter camera, among other items. The items are valued at more than $2,000.