A man was killed in a single-vehicle wreck Saturday night on Old U.S. 421 West (Boone Trail) in the Purlear community, according to Trooper K.J. Oakes of the N.C. Highway Patrol.
Steven Brian Huffman, 41, of Parsonsville Road, Purlear, driving a 2001 Ford sport/utility vehicle, died at the scene, Oakes said.
Shortly before 8 p.m., Huffman was westbound in a curve when his vehicle went off on the left, slid down an embankment and hit a tree, the trooper said.
Wilkes Emergency Medical Services, Wilkes Rescue Squad and Champion Fire & Rescue were at the scene.
At 6 p.m., about two hours prior to the fatal wreck, Huffman was charged at Walmart in Wilkesboro with trespassing and misdemeanor larceny, according to Officer A.D. Bare of the Wilkesboro Police Department.
Huffman was asleep in a chair in the store’s loss prevention office and Wilkesboro police officers had a difficult time waking him, Bare said. Wilkes EMS paramedics checked on Huffman, but he declined to be taken to a hospital for treatment.
He “was not in a deteriorated state any longer, so he could not be forced to go to the hospital,” Bare said.
Before releasing him, Officer M.J. Osborne told Huffman not to drive and that he would be charged with driving while impaired if seen operating a vehicle.
At Walmart, Huffman was charged with attempting to steal a television and a screen protector for a cell phone.