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The Daily Tar Heel

Local Man Charged In Fatal Accident

Faces misdemeanor death by vehicle

Thomas Earl Bynum, 50, of Chapel Hill, will be charged with the death of James Elijah Ellis, 77, of Henderson, who died Tuesday night after being struck by a vehicle, according to the incident report prepared by the Chapel Hill Police Department.

Bynum said he has been advised by his attorney not to comment on the accident.

Maj. Tony Oakley of the police department said Sgt. Steve Riddle, the police department's accident reconstructionist, who was at the scene Tuesday, presented evidence to the magistrate for Bynum's warrant.

Oakley said officers who examined the accident scene could not calculate the speed of the vehicle. "The officers were unable to determine how fast he was going," he said.

The speed limit is 20 mph where the accident occurred, and there were no skid marks on the road, according to the incident report.

Bynum and passenger Linda Diane Bynum, 48, sustained no injuries in the accident. Both were wearing seat belts, the incident report states.

Ellis was crossing the northwest corner of Franklin and Church streets heading toward University Square when he was struck at about 9:45 p.m., according to the incident report.

Oakley said it appears that Ellis' path in crossing the road was at a slight diagonal. "He traveled from the north side to south side," he said.

Ellis was rushed to UNC Hospitals after being struck and was pronounced dead about 10:10 p.m. from blunt force head trauma, hospital staff said last week.

Oakley said no restrictions are being placed on Bynum, a long-time Chapel Hill resident, prior to his court date.

"He's been a local person for many, many years," Oakley said.

Bynum is scheduled to appear Nov. 26 at Orange County District Court in Chapel Hill.

The City Editor can be reached


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