Residents of communities around Fort Bragg, North Carolina, were alarmed when news emerged last month that a burned-out vehicle with human remains inside was discovered in a training area of the installation. Now the Army has announced the wreckage was due to a car accident.

The car was discovered on Nov. 21 near the installation’s Range 74 “on a section of road accessible to the public,” according to an Army Criminal Investigation Division press release.

After investigating, Army authorities identified the victim and said that the incident was the result of a traffic accident. “It appears the vehicle struck an embankment and caught fire sometime during the previous evening,” the release said.

“Unfortunately, the driver, Ronald A. Farrell, 70, of Fayetteville, N.C., died as a result of the accident,” it continued. “At this point in the investigation, there are no signs of foul play. Mr. Farrell served in the North Carolina National Guard from 1975 to 1983.”

According to an online obituary, Farrell reached the rank of sergeant in the Guard.

CID officials also thanked local authorities for their assistance in the investigation, indicating that the probe will continue to ensure that the former NCO’s death was not the result of foul play.

Davis Winkie is a senior reporter covering the Army, specializing in accountability reporting, personnel issues and military justice. He joined Military Times in 2020. Davis studied history at Vanderbilt University and UNC-Chapel Hill, writing a master's thesis about how the Cold War-era Defense Department influenced Hollywood's WWII movies.

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