According to a recent news article from WBTV, a driver was arrested following a deadly motorcycle accident in Charlotte. Authorities say the accident involved a van, a passenger car, and a motorcycle, and it occurred around 6:30 p.m. in south Charlotte, North Carolina. The accident resulted one person being killed and several other victims suffering varying degrees of personal injury.
Witnesses say a Ford Edge was stopped in traffic when the 35-year-old driver of a Honda Odyssey was driving toward the city on South Boulevard. The Odyssey was unable to stop in time to avoid hitting the Edge, so he rear-ended the stopped vehicle. When alleged at-fault driver hit the Ford from behind, it caused the car to spin out of control and cross the center line of the highway and enter the lanes of oncoming traffic.
At this point, a motorcycle driven by a 37-year-old man hit the Ford head-on and then deflected into the Odyssey and hit that vehicle head on. First responders arrived at scene shortly after the multi-vehicle accident and provided immediate medical attention to the motorcycle rider before transporting him to a level-one trauma center in Charlotte, but his injures were too severe, and emergency room doctors pronounced him dead shortly after the ambulance arrived.
The alleged at-fault driver of the Honda Odyssey was not injured in the accident, but the two occupants of the Ford Edge suffered minor injuries and were also taken to the same hospital as the motorcycle rider.
During the course of their investigation, authorities did not suspect alcohol was a factor in the fatal motorcycle crash but do believe the Odyssey driver responsible for the accident and arrested him on charges of misdemeanor death by motor vehicle, failure to reduce speed and a marked lanes violation. He was taken to the Mecklenburg County Jail.
As our Charlotte car accident attorneys can explain, the law in North Carolina involving motor vehicle accidents operates somewhat differently than many other jurisdictions. In most states, if a driver was not under the influence of intoxicating liquor or drugs, and was not driving in an extremely reckless manner, such as being involved in illegal street racing, the driver will be cited for an accident with a civil motor vehicle infraction but will not be charged with a crime.
In North Carolina, however, the criminal traffic code does have lesser degrees of criminal negligence when a person is killed in a traffic accident. The charge is often misdemeanor death by motor vehicle and carries a maximum punishment of up to 60 days in jail. In order for a defendant to be found guilty of misdemeanor death by motor vehicle, the state must prove defendant unintentionally caused the death of a person, was engaged in the violation of a motor vehicle law or ordinance, and the commission of the violation was the proximate cause of the fatality.
The way this can affect a civil personal injury lawsuit involving a car accident is that the prosecutor will investigate the alleged offense and pursue a case against alleged at-fault driver.
While the prosecutor is interested in having defendant found guilty of the conduct that resulted in death, he or she may not be concerned with how the criminal case will affect a civil negligence lawsuit filed by victim’s family. For this reason, you should speak your own car accident lawyer before making any statements or answering any questions, to make sure your rights are protected. However, you will be required to cooperate with the police and prosecutors.
Contact the Carolina injury lawyers at the Lee Law Offices by calling 800-887-1965.
Police: Driver arrested after fatal motorcycle wreck on South Blvd, June 4, 2015, WBTV
More Blog Entries:
Bean v. Pacific Coast Elevator Corp. – Non-Economic Damage Award Valid, March 27, 2015, Charlotte Car Accident Lawyer Blog