A rear-end collision on U.S. 64 in Wake County, North Carolina (NC), killed a woman and left her husband and child badly injured. Police said the fatal crash near the exit to Debnam Road in the town of Zebulon occurred because the driver of the SUV that struck the victim's vehicle from behind was texting.
The deceased mother had just taken over driving duties from her husband. They had traveled overnight from Philadelphia following a visit with relatives, and they pulled onto the right shoulder of the highway to switch positions. They were struck while reentering traffic. Authorities say that the man behind the wheel of the SUV was too distracted by using his smartphone to spot the slower-moving vehicle and failed to reduce his own speed in time to avoid causing the deadly crash.
A preliminary charge of causing a death while operating a motor vehicle has been filed against the SUV driver. He may also be charged with other offenses such as distracted driving and reckless driving. However the criminal process plays out, the details available on the wreck indicate that the man behaved negligently in taking his eyes and mind off the road. That inattention set the stage for the collision that claimed one life and negatively impact many others.
Such negligence should make the SUV liable for settling insurance claims for causing a wrongful death and personal injuries. Making sure that happens may require advice and assistance from a Carolina plaintiff's attorney, however, since the at-fault driver's insurer is sure to argue that the victims exercised too little caution when reentering the highway. Let's hope such shifting of responsibility does not succeed.