Trooper S.R. Corn said the medical examiner confirmed today the driver of the vehicle was Robert Earl Hawkins Sr. and the passenger was Gladys Price Gray.
The medical examiner identified the couple through X-rays and medical records, Corn said.
The single-vehicle crash occurred around 2:01 a.m. on Highway 46 about 3.8 miles west of Gaston, just a few miles from the couple’s house.
It appeared, Corn said, Hawkins, 69, was going around a corner when he ran off the road to the right. He came back on the roadway, then crossed the centerline and ran off the road to the left. The vehicle collided with a ditch and as it overturned multiple times struck a line of trees.
The cause of death, Corn said, unless a pathologist determines there was a medical condition, was the driver having an issue with negotiating the curve. Officially the cause of death is pending completion of a pathology report.
The process of learning the identities of Hawkins and Gray, 71, took a while because, Corn said he was told, the couple did not “have a lot of medical records.” Hawkins had not been to the dentist since 1991. “Neither one left much of a digital footprint,” he said.