A car running out of control on the interstate north of Charlotte, North Carolina (NC), set the stage for a crash that claimed the life of a tractor-trailer driver. The deadly wreck happened near mile marker 142 on I-40, about a mile east of the exits to Sharon School Road.
State troopers received reports of the collision a little after 4 am on March 31, 2018. Investigators determined that a car headed toward Statesville had run off the left side of the highway, struck the cable barriers along the median, and reentered the roadway. The semi driver could not avoided the car, and his big rig overturned after hitting it.
The truck driver died at the scene while all three people in the car survived with serious injuries. One of the injured car passengers needed to be flown by helicopter to WakeMed in Raleigh for lifesaving treatment.
Law enforcement officials announced their intention to charge the driver of the car with causing the deadly crash but did not specific what those charges would be. One likely alleged offense is reckless driving, which section 20-140(b) of the North Carolina General Statutes says occurs when “any person … drives any vehicle upon a highway or any public vehicular area without due caution and circumspection and at a speed or in a manner so as to endanger or be likely to endanger any person or property.”
The filing of charges against the person driving the car will give the injured passengers and the family of the deceased semi driver strong grounds for filing insurance claims or civil lawsuits. A traffic citation or criminal allegation must be fully investigated, and all the evidence of negligence or recklessness that police collect can be used to supporting personal injury or wrongful death claims.
An aspect of this sad incident that caught the attention of my Carolina wrongful death attorney colleagues and myself is that it flips the script of most large commercial truck crashes.
During 2016, the North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles recorded 4,464 crashes involving tractor-trailers, 62 of which resulted in deaths and 1.234 that caused injuries serious enough to require hospitalization. Most people who hear “tractor-trailer crash” assume that the semi driver will be at fault. This fatal collision in Iredell County, however, illustrates that any person who loses control of any type of vehicle can trigger an irreversible tragedy.