Multiple collisions caused by a single, unsuccessful hit-and-run driver left five people injured in a series of crashes on Cornwallis Road in Durham, North Carolina (NC). The multivehicle wreck occurred on the afternoon of May 20, 2015, and a young child was among the victims who required transportation to a hospital for medical treatment.
Witnesses told police and reporters that the incident began when the driver of one car sideswiped another and continued driving. The fleeing at-fault driver then passed a school bus stopped between Roxboro and Charles streets, struck a pedestrian standing next to a van, and collided with a third vehicle. Even that did not stop the careening driver, but the out-of-control car eventually rolled over and landed on that last vehicle.
None of the injuries inflicted on the victims of the vehicular rampage appeared life-threatening. Investigators do not know why the driver responsible for the three separate crashes appears to have behaved so recklessly and irresponsibly, nor have law enforcement officers disclosed which charges will be filed against that person.
It is possible that the person behind the wheel of the car that set off the chain of wrecks suffered a medical emergency that left him or her unable to control the vehicle or understand what was unfolding. Another possibility is that the person was impaired by drugs or alcohol. Drunk and drugged driving lead to many crashes, but only a complete investigation that will likely include analysis of blood samples would point to that explanation.
Determining the ultimate cause matters for the purposes of both pursuing criminal prosecution and seeking compensation through insurance claims or civil lawsuits. For instance, evidence of driving while intoxicated could bring serious punishments, including punitive damage awards separate from any criminal fines. A sudden illness, however, would likely excuse the driver from any criminal culpability but still leave the person liable for causing injuries while being unable to control a car.
Whatever happens, my North Carolina personal injury law firm colleagues and I wish the adults and child hurt in Durham full and rapid returns to health.