A hit-and-run collision in Bertie County, North Carolina (NC), left a bike rider dead and law enforcement officials searching for the driver who fled on foot. The deadly crash happened on Highway 308 outside of the town of Roxobel on the afternoon of February 8, 2018.
The first report of the fatal incident northwest of Windsor was received by the sheriff’s office a little before 3:15 pm. They called in the State Highway Patrol, and troopers found the bicyclist dead from his injuries. The deceased bike rider’s name was not released to reporters pending notification of his relatives.
A red 2017 Nissan Altima with Maryland plates was also found damaged and abandoned in a ditch near the body of the dead bike rider. Investigators believe the vehicle is a rental car and that the driver suffered injuries. They are asking anyone who may know the identity or whereabouts of the driver to call the sheriff at (252) 794-5330 to share their information.
Finding the hit-and-run driver is important for two reasons. First, fleeing the scene of a fatal accident is a felony under North Carolina law.
More importantly, identifying the driver who struck and killed the bicyclist will allow the family of the man who lost his life hold the right person accountable. While North Carolina requires all vehicle owners to carry uninsured motorist coverage to protect them from severe financial losses following a hit-and-run collision, invoking uninsured motorist provisions does not equate to seeing justice done. An individual who inflicts injuries or causes death should be made to pay compensation and damages to the victims.
Sadly, this tragedy on Highway 308 is not an unusual event. Acting on knowledge that an average of 960 bike riders get hit by vehicles in North Carolina each year, state lawmakers in 2016 adopted new, stiffer penalties for aggressive drivers. They also made it legal for a driver on a two-lane highway to move all the way over into the opposite lane when passing bicycles so riders do not get knocked over by a burst of air. It is unclear from news reports exactly how this collision happened in Bertie County happened, but the majority of similar wrecks result from rear-end impacts or unsafe passing.
My Carolina bike accident and wrongful death law firm colleagues urge all drivers to watch out for and share the road respectfully with bicyclists. Bike riders have few physical protections, so they must trust people behind the wheels of cars and trucks to avoid collisions.