A rash of North Carolina pedestrian accidents across the state have officials issuing an urgent warning.
Our Asheville pedestrian accident attorneys were saddened to hear that at least two of the recent three incidents proved fatal - and we're still waiting for word on the third. In so many of these cases, injuries and deaths could have been avoided if drivers had simply slowed down, paid attention and refrained from drinking.
While the details of these incidents are still under investigation, here's what we know so far:
In Asheville, police are continuing to investigate a horrific crash in which a man was struck by four different vehicles and dragged for at least five miles. He ultimately died of his injuries.
Officers say the man was struck while crossing Tunnel Road. The first driver who hit him reportedly pulled over right away. Then two other vehicles hit him. When he was hit by the fourth, a minivan, he was dragged for several miles down the road. The driver reportedly thought she had a flat tire, and did not realize a man was lodged underneath.
Police say all the drivers stopped, except one. They continue to search for that individual. Investigators believe the rainy weather may have been a factor in the incident.
Another case out of Mt. Airy, about a half-hour north of Greensboro, involved a 47-year-old man who was crossing North Carolina 89 near Beasley Street. He was reportedly struck by a sport utility vehicle driven by a 35-year-old female driver shortly after 6 p.m. It's not clear whether the driver will be charged.
The crash was the second pedestrian fatality in Mt. Airy in the last six months. Investigators say an increase in the number of pedestrians and bicycles is to blame. We say that drivers and cyclists have just as much right to be on the road - motor vehicle drivers have a responsibility to drive cautiously.
A third incident in Winston-Salem caused all lanes of U.S. 421 to be shut down for a time being after a pedestrian was struck near the South Peace Haven Road exit. Details of that crash, including the condition of the victim, who was transported to a nearby hospital, had not yet been released.
According to the North Carolina Department of Transportation, pedestrian accidents throughout the state were increasing until about 2009, when we began to see a slight drop.
Still, far too many are seriously injured or killed each year. Every year since 2005, an average of 170 pedestrians were killed in the state and another 200 were seriously injured. Counties with the highest rates included Mecklenburg, Wake, Guilford, Cumberland and Durham. Cities with the highest rates included Charlotte, Raleigh, Greensboro, Durham and Fayetteville. Asheville ranked 7th.
The most dangerous day of the week for pedestrians was Friday, followed closely by Saturday, with the majority occurring between 3 p.m. to 9 p.m. Roughly two-thirds of these incidents happened on roadways where the speed limit was less than 35 miles per hour, seeming to indicate thoroughfares where pedestrians were most likely to be found.
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