Sheriff: Thursday’s Incident “Apparent Suicide” UPDATE: Man Identified

By Ran Northam Posted August 15, 2014 at 2:45 pm

Update 3:54 p.m.: The man who jumped to his death from an overpass of I-40 at exit 266 on Thursday has been identified by Orange County Medical Examiner Vincent Moylan as 53-year-old Charles J. Helpingstine of Chapel Hill. Helpingstine was one of the proprietors of Johnny T-Shirt on Franklin Street.

Moylan told WCHL the cause of death was blunt force head trauma.

Update 2:45 p.m.: The name of the decedent has not been released. The North Carolina medical examiner says it cannot release any details until the autopsy is complete and that any identifying information must be delivered by the Orange County Sheriff’s Department. Multiple messages requesting the name have been left with Investigator Tim Horne, who the Sheriff’s office says is the only person there who can release that information.

Story originally posted August 15, 2014 at 9:53 a.m.

Orange County Sheriff Investigator Tim Horne says it’s “pretty clear” that Thursday’s death of a man who jumped from the overpass of I-40 at exit 266 is an apparent suicide.

Investigator Horne says all cases are treated as a homicide until ruled otherwise. He says, at this time, the Orange County medical examiner has the body and is performing an autopsy. He adds that the release of the name is up to the ME at this point and that a toxicology report will likely be conducted as well. Toxicology tests usually take about two weeks.

Four 911 calls were released Friday morning. The first call was placed at 12:15 p.m. from the driver who said he saw the man sitting on the ledge.

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The caller was clearly shaken during the call saying, “he just leapt”. The caller said he was turning from the offramp of I-40 onto Martin Luther King, Jr Boulevard (NC-86) and noticed a car parked in a weird place. He said he attempted to go to the man, but before he could, he jumped. He fell onto the emergency shoulder of I-40 westbound, according to a release by the Sheriff’s department.

The caller remained on the overpass of I-40 and quickly other individuals attended to the man. He said one woman began performing CPR. Emergency officials arrived in less than four minutes from when the call was placed. They attempted to revive the individual, but he was pronounced dead at the scene.

Another caller from inside her car said she was driving on I-40 westbound when she saw the man sitting on the overpass. She said she looked in her rearview mirror and saw the man jump.

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The two other calls that were released were from drivers passing by after the man jumped and saw him lying on the ground.

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