Recently, four members of a South Carolina family were killed and a 90-year-old woman was critically injured when their car crashed on Interstate 95 in Rocky Mount.  North Carolina State Troopers reported to multiple media outlets that Annie Mae Brown was airlifted to Pitt County Memorial Hospital and had been listed in critical condition following the tragic I-95 wreck.

Crash site investigators are not entirely sure how Sylvester Pernell may have lost control of the 2004 Saturn Vue he was driving. The SUV  veered off the road into a wooded median, then hit two pine trees before flipping over. 

Along with Pernell, three family members also died as passengers in the fatal crash.  The entire family were from Dillon, South Carolina. Dillon is a small town near the North Carolina-South Carolina border. Dillon is a railroad town that our firm is quite familiar with from our FELA cases.It is hard to imagine a more tragic and shocking event than a fatal car accident that takes several lives away in such terrible manner.

Although I do not personally know these folks, my thoughts and prayers go out to them. I am certain that they will be missed by many in their circle of friends and family and the  community. 
We are not certain what caused this terrible and senseless fatal car accident involving the Pernell family. What we do know is that there are some common reasons that may offer some insight to what may have happened. Unfortunately, car crashes happen with all too much regularity resulting in serious injury and even death as in this case. 

With more than 6 million traffic accidents occurring on roadways each year in the U.S. alone,  almost  3 million of those actually end up with people either being injured or killed. Many of those injuries and deaths are due to the negligence of other drivers, but some are caused by other factors, as well. The most common causes of traffic accidents include:

  • Driver Error, or Negligence
  • Road conditions
  • Road design or maintenance issues
  • Mechanical failures or defects

While not the most common causes of traffic accidents, manufacturer design defects  are sometimes  significant factors that  cause cars to crash and may make the injuries worse. There are numerous cases where the auto  maker sold a vehicle that was too likely to roll over or could not take the normal impact expected when accidents occur. This case may not involve such product problems, but if they were an issue, then such defects could be the basis for  victims to file personal injury or wrongful death  claims for compensation.