An impaired driver took the life of a pedestrian in Greensboro, North Carolina (NC), on the night of September 22, 2017. The deadly wreck happened on West Wendover Avenue near the intersection with West Market Street at about 7:20 pm.
Police investigators said the at-fault minivan driver crashed into the guardrail along the median of West Wendover several times. One of those swerves out of the left lane involved a collision with a woman. He also tried to leave the scene when police arrived.
Emergency responders declared the pedestrian dead from her injuries at the scene.
The man behind the wheel of the minivan now faces multiple criminal and traffic offense charges, including felony driving while impaired, felony hit and run, felony death by vehicle and reckless driving. Under the General Statutes of North Carolina, reckless driving is defined as either operating “carelessly and heedlessly in willful or wanton disregard of the rights or safety of others” or “without due caution and circumspection and at a speed or in a manner so as to endanger or be likely to endanger any person or property.” Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol would satisfy the first definition, while greatly exceeding the 45 mph speed limit on West Wendover would make remaining in one’s lane difficult. The street curves significantly in the area where the fatal pedestrian crash occurred.
The death by vehicle charge is also significant. State statutes list the following criteria for making vehicular homicide a felony offense:
- The driver who caused the crash did not intend to take some else’s life,
- The driver was DWI, and
- The crash led directly to the victim’s death.
Law enforcement officials investigating this fatal pedestrian crash in Greensboro could not immediately determine when or how the impaired driver hit the woman who died. In part to help them pursue the felony death by vehicle charge, police are asking anyone who witnessed the incident to share their information by calling (336) 373-1000.
All the evidence collected in connection with the criminal case can be used to support a wrongful death insurance claim or civil lawsuit. And, importantly, the charges of reckless driving and DWI could give the family of the deceased pedestrian grounds for seeking punitive damages, which are noncriminal monetary penalties paid in addition to any economic compensation and awards for things like emotional suffering.
Consulting with an experienced and caring Carolina wrongful death attorney will help the family who lost their loved one so unexpectedly and so needlessly understand and act on their legal options. My colleagues and I send them our deepest condolences.