Man killed in head-on wreck in Winston-Salem is Joseph Abbitt, exonerated in 2009 for wrongful conviction

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WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — Police are investigating the cause of a head-on crash Thursday night that left 54-year-old Joseph Abbitt dead in Winston-Salem.

The Forsyth County District Attorney’s office confirms Abbitt is the same man who was exonerated of rape charges in 2009 after serving 14 years of a life sentence.

The wreck happened just before 9 p.m. on the 4100 block of Carver School Road.

Officers said Walter Black III, 53, was driving south when he saw another car driving north in the southbound lane.

He told officers he tried to avoid the other car by steering left, but was unable to avoid the collision.

Abbitt, the driver of the other vehicle, died at the scene.

Black and his two passengers were transported to N.C. Baptist Hospital with minor injuries.

Officers don’t know if speed or alcohol were factors in the crash.

The Winston-Salem Police Department requests that anyone with information regarding this incident to contact CrimeStoppers at (336) 727-2800.