Hunter to face charges after bullet hits woman

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This map shows West Main Street Extended near Berea Church Road, where Pasquotank County Sheriff Randy Cartwright said a hunter accidentally shot a woman who was riding in a pickup truck on Dec. 22.


By William F. West
Staff Writer

Friday, January 5, 2018

An out-of-state hunter who shot and missed a deer with a high-pow­ered ri­fle, striking instead a woman in a pickup truck, will face crim­i­nal charges in Pasquotank County, the sher­iff said this week.

Sheriff Randy Cartwright said the hunter, whom he declined to identify, will be served with a magistrate’s warrant after he returns to Pasquotank County. Cartwright said the hunter isn’t from North Carolina but has family connections to the area.

Cartwright declined to state what specific charges the hunter will face. He said the charges are the result of a probe conducted by his office and officers with the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission. He said his department’s investigators spoke to the District Attorney’s Office about the charges on Wednesday.

According to Cartwright, the hunter was hunting in an area near West Main Street Extended the evening of Dec. 22 when the incident occurred. The hunter apparently had exited a tree stand and was walking along a path when a deer ran out in front of him. The hunter raised his high-powered rifle and fired but the bullet missed.

The stray round apparently traveled in the direction of West Main Street Extended, where Andrew Hurdle was driving a 2004 Ford F- 150 pickup truck. Hurdle’s wife, Melinda, was in the passenger seat of the cab and the couple’s infant child was seated in a rear car seat.

Cartwright said the Hurdles’ pickup was traveling on West Main Street Extended near Berea Church Road when the stray bullet from the hunter’s rifle entered the truck’s cab.

"They heard a popping sound — and then his wife slumped over," Cartwright said, referring to Melinda Hurdle. "And he found that she had been hit in the back."

Cartwright said Andrew Hurdle reported the incident and then stopped his truck after he was met by deputies. Cartwright said Melinda Hurdle, 29, was conscious when deputies arrived.

Pasquotank-Camden Emergency Medical Services officials said they received a call about the incident at 5:23 p.m.

Cartwright said Melinda Hurdle initially was transported to Sentara Albemarle Medical Center and then to Sentara Norfolk General Hospital in Virginia, where she was treated and released.

Cartwright said his department’s investigators immediately began asking other hunters who was hunting in the area at the time of the incident. That investigation led to identification of the out-of-state hunter who will face criminal charges.

Although the injury to Melinda Hurdle happened by chance, Cartwright said the hunter shouldn't have fired a high-powered rifle while standing on flat land. Cartwright said the hunter is "really broken up" by the incident.

While she no longer is hospitalized, Hurdle continues to experience some medical issues following the incident, Cartwright said.

"So, she has got a ways to go in recovery," he said.

The sheriff's office's incident report lists Melinda Hurdle’s address as Fort Meade, Maryland. The report also lists Andrew Hurdle’s employer as the U.S. Navy.