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Shapiro & Appleton

Driver Finally Charged in Fatal Drunk Driving Crash

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A Robeson County man has been charged with causing a drunk driving accident that killed two Wilmington teens back in February. Prosecutors held off charging the 38-year-old man until he was released from the hospital. He had been hospitalized since the accident because of injuries he sustained in the fatal crash.

According to details released by law enforcement, the man was driving on U.S. 74 in Robeson County at about 12:59 a.m. on February 6th. The two victims, an 18-year-old girl and 18-year-old boy, were traveling west on U.S. 74 near N.C. 41 when the man drove his vehicle head on into their 2005 Ford Focus. The two teens were killed instantly.

The man had a blood alcohol content (BAC) of twice the legal limit. He was also driving the wrong way, driving at excessive speed, use of improper lane, driving in an erratic, reckless, careless, negligent, or aggressive manner, and driving with inattention. He has been charged with two counts of second-degree murder, two counts of felony death by vehicle, driving while impaired, reckless driving, and driving the wrong way and is being held on $222,500.

Police records show that the man has a history of drunk driving. He has three 30-day drunk driving license suspensions, the last one in June 2016. His criminal record also reveals convictions for possession with intent to sell cocaine, possession with intent to sell marijuana, and assault inflicting serious injury.

The defendant’s brother was also arrested and charged with permitting a motor vehicle to be operated without having financial responsibility. He is the owner of the vehicle that his brother was driving.

The crash investigation revealed that the man accessed a west-bound exit ramp instead of an east-bound entrance ramp when he entered the highway. Statistics show that approximately 75 percent of wrong way accidents are caused by drunk drivers who are too intoxicated and confused. In the majority of these crashes, the drivers BAC is typically twice the legal limit, just as it was in this fatal accident.

Although there may be criminal charges brought against a drunk driver, families of victims who are killed or injured in a crash do not have to wait until the criminal process has been completed. They can file wrongful death lawsuits against the drunk driver even when charges have not been filed yet. In fact, due to the statute of limitations that North Carolina places on how long victims have to file their claims, it is best to contact an attorney as soon as possible.

If you have lost a family member to a drunk driver, consider contacting a compassionate North Carolina wrongful death attorney to discuss what your legal options may be.

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