A driver and passenger were confirmed dead following a vehicle crash on Toms Creek Road involving a fallen tree, according to reports.

At approximately 7:27 p.m. Thursday, emergency units and law enforcement responded to Toms Creek Road at N.C. 80 after receiving reports of a wreck.

According to Trooper Rico Stephens of the N.C. Highway Patrol, a 2015 Nissan passenger car - driven by 70-year-old Billy Dean Lawing of Old Fort - was traveling westbound on Toms Creek Road when it struck a tree lying on the roadway. At which point, the car ran off the road and struck another tree before coming to a complete stop.

“It was dark outside, so it was very unlikely the driver was able to see the tree in the roadway,” said Stephens, who also said speed and impairing substances were not factors.

Additionally, a second vehicle traveling eastbound struck the tree following the first wreck. The driver, who was not injured in the wreck, called 911 for the first collision.

The passenger in the Nissan - 64-year-old Sharon Tipton Lewis of Old Fort - was pronounced dead on the scene, while Lawing was airlifted to Mission Trauma Center, where he later succumbed to injuries, according to McDowell Emergency Services Director William Kehler. 

P.G. Fire Department, McDowell EMS, McDowell Rescue Squad, Emergency Management and NCHP responded to the incident.

Get today’s top stories right in your inbox. Sign up for our daily newsletter.