A head-on collision in Pitt County, North Carolina (NC), led to the death of a 9-year-old girl. The child’s mother also suffered serious injuries when their car was struck by a pickup truck that suddenly veered into their lane on a two-lane state highway outside of Greenville just before 1:30 pm on May 21, 2017.
The deadly crash happened near the intersection of Mumford Road East and Geneva Court. According to Highway Patrol investigators and witnesses, the man in the pickup crossed the center line of Mumford Road in order to avoid rear-ending another vehicle that suddenly stopped in front of him. The local Reflector newspaper quoted one trooper as saying no skid marks appeared on the pavement. “Nobody had time to hit the brakes,” the trooper said. “That would estimate the speed of impact at 90 mph.”
The young girl died in the hospital the next day. A preliminary charge of misdemeanor death by vehicle has been filed against the pickup driver, and other charges may follow when the crash reconstruction is completed.
Under section 20-141.4(a2) of the North Carolina Code, causing a death while driving is considered a misdemeanor criminal offense when
- The person does not intend to take a life,
- The person caused a crash by violating a state law or local ordinance other than driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, and
- The wreck that results from the traffic violation leads directly to the victim’s death.
One clear violation the pickup driver committed involved crossing the solid yellow line and broken yellow line that divides Mumford Road. The Federal Highway Administration’s Manual on Uniform Control Devices calls that marking “No Passing Zones and Edge Markers.” The rule for drivers who see the markings is to stay only in their own lane and to keep to the right of the dashes.
Regardless of how the criminal case against the pickup truck driver concludes, evidence collected to prove that he acted negligently in crossing the center line can be used to support an insurance claim or civil lawsuit. The grounds for seeking compensation and damages for both the personal injuries suffered by the innocent driver and the wrongful death of the child passenger appear strong. Working with an empathetic and experienced Carolina wrongful death attorney will help the family who tragically lost their daughter hold the at-fault driver accountable.