Man reported missing found dead in truck discovered in a creek, Gastonia police say

GASTONIA, N.C. — A 65-year-old Gaston County man who was reported missing Wednesday was found dead in a truck that was discovered in a creek the day after, police said.

Gastonia police responded to the 1700 block of Lowell-Bethesda Road at about 5 p.m. Thursday after someone walking a dog saw a truck in the creek.

It appears the driver, Eddie Dean Smith, lost control of the truck in a curve, crossed the centerline, hit a culvert and took out some road signs as it careened downhill into the creek, police said.

After the heavy rainfall Wednesday, the truck was pushed about 75 to 100 yards downstream.

Smith’s body was later found inside the truck when police responded to the scene Thursday afternoon. Smith’s family reported him missing at 4 p.m. Wednesday.

It is unclear when or why the accident happened.

No further information has been released.

Investigators asked anyone who may have been on that part of Lowell-Bethesda Road on Jan. 4 between 9:30 a.m. and 11 a.m. and may have seen anything unusual to call investigators at 704-842-5165.

Return to this story for updates.

VIDEO: Gastonia expedites low-level cases to get jail inmates home for the holidays