Mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers and beloved children were killed on roads in North Carolina and South Carolina these last several weeks, many in high-profile incidents, leaving pockets of their communities in disbelief and mourning.
The North Carolina Department of Transportation reports the most recent crash data shows there are an estimated 214,000 reported crashes in the state each year, resulting in more than 110,000 injuries and nearly 1,300 deaths. As it pertains to holidays, Christmas and New Year’s are among the worst, with collectively 3,440 crashes 1,580 injuries and 23 deaths.
Part of this, of course, is that more people on the road. But there are also people rushing from place-to-place, trying to get everything done, which means more people are speeding. There is also an uptick in alcohol use. Figures show 50 percent of all traffic deaths on New Year’s Eve are alcohol-related, as are about 40 percent of all those on Christmas.
In Wake County, NC, just two weeks before Christmas, a mother as killed while driving on NC-98 (Durham Road) when a dump truck overturned onto her vehicle. Authorities say the woman crossed the center line of the road where the truck was traveling the opposite direction. The truck driver reportedly tried to steer sharp away from the vehicle, but ended up overturning onto it.
Then in Charlotte, just five days before Christmas, WBTV reported an 18-year-old high school senior was killed in Greenville County was killed when her cousin, operating a sport utility vehicle, careened off the right side of the road, struck several parked cars and rolled over. The decedent had been vice president of the student body at school and a volleyball player.
Four days before Christmas, the daughter of a NASCAR crew chief was killed in a car accident just outside Asheboro in Randolph County. The 25-year-old, whose two children were in the car with her, reportedly ran off the right side of the road while negotiating a curve and struck a tree. The two children suffered minor injuries. Authorities say speed, but not alcohol, was a factor in the crash.
On Christmas Eve, a 25-year-old U.S. Army soldier and father was killed in Pitt County in a single-vehicle crash in Grimesland. Three other people were seriously injured. The vehicle, which was being driven by another man, went off the road, careened through a front yard and knocked down several power lines before rolling over. The decedent, who had just a week earlier taken his daughter to Disney, was ejected from the vehicle and pronounced dead at the scene.
That same day, a 22-year-old novice television news reporter was killed in Waxhaw, on her way home to see her family in Charlotte for the holiday. The reporter, employed at a station in Florence-Myrtle Beach in South Carolina. She reportedly failed to stop at a stop sign and was struck by another vehicle.
Then just days after the New Year, a 15-year-old high school sophomore in New Ellenton, SC was killed after being struck by a vehicle as he walked home to make his 8:30 p.m. curfew. A 20-year-old driver, who initially fled the scene, was caught by authorities and is facing felony charges related to the death, according to reports.
Although car crashes can occur at any time, the holidays are a peak time. Let’s hope this rash of tragedies isn’t an indication of the new road ahead in 2016.
Contact the Carolina injury lawyers at the Lee Law Offices by calling 800-887-1965.
TV reporter dies in NC car crash after running stop sign, troopers say, Dec. 25, 2015, By WCBD-TV
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