The cause remains unclear, but a driver who crossed the double yellow center line of a rural highway in central coastal North Carolina killed a passenger in the other vehicle. Both drivers involved in the head-on collision in Jones County on the afternoon of Jan. 31, 2018, also suffered serious injuries that required their admittance to Vidant Medical Center in Greenville.
NC Highway Patrol troopers received the call about the crash north of Pollocksville a little before 3:30 pm. Their initial investigation revealed that a northbound vehicle driven by Montee Boddie went into the southbound lane of U.S. 17 near the intersection with Shady Lane and struck an oncoming car.
The passenger in the southbound car, identified as 68-year-old Kathleen Peckham of Jackson, NC, died at the scene. She was riding with 38-year-old Tiffany Dandrea of Virginia Beach, VA. Dandrea’s condition was not disclosed by law enforcement officials or medical personnel.
News reports on this deadly head-on collision on U.S. 17 near the Jones County-Craven County Line do not include information on whether charges will be filed against the driver who crossed over the double yellow line. That itself can draw a traffic ticket, though troopers might want to cite other possible traffic violations such as speeding around a curve or driving while distracted.
According to a crash facts report prepared by the North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles, 21 percent of drivers involved in wrecks in the state during 2015 disclosed that they became districted in the moments before they wrecked. My Carolina wrongful death attorney and personal injury lawyer colleagues and I have been sounding the alarm on the dangers of distracted driving for many years.
Taking one’s eyes and mind off surrounding traffic and the road ahead creates significant risk at highway speeds, when a car or truck can travel a quarter mile or more in just 20 seconds. This could be one of the reasons that the NC DMV further documented 424 deaths in collisions that happened when one or both drivers were speeding. Speed-related crashes also left 45,845 people injured in North Carolina during 2015.
We send our deepest condolences out to the friends and family of the passenger who lost her life in Jones County. We also share our hopes that the innocent driver recovers quickly and completely. Since she lives in Virginia but wound up hospitalized in North Carolina, she may want to consult with a personal injury lawyer who has handled car crash cases in both states to ensure that all insurance claims are prepared and processed without complication or delay.