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Crossing Highway Median Leads to Double Fatal Crash in Pittsboro, NC

A three-vehicle crash in Pittsboro, North Carolina (NC), left two drivers dead and two others badly injured. The fatal wreck, which began when the 18-year-old driver of an SUV crossed the median of U.S. 15/501 near Ruth Lane, occurred at around 8 am on June 8, 2015.



Authorities do not know what caused the teen driver to lose control, but evidence and witness accounts indicate that the SUV rolled over after it hit the grass and continued rolling across the lanes of oncoming traffic before landing on top of one car. The person behind the wheel of that smaller vehicle lost his life, as did the high school senior driving the SUV. A passenger in the rolled over SUV and the driver of the other car were hospitalized.

Many accidents that involve leaving the highway result from driver distraction, which is a particular problem for younger people. Investigators will have to look into whether the SUV driver had been texting or talking on a cellphone immediately before the wreck. Passengers can also prove distracting to inexperienced drivers.

The other component of this deadly crash, the rollover, can frequently result from an attempt to overcorrect one's steering. When a driver feels his or her wheels leave pavement, a natural reaction can be to jerk the steering wheel right or left. Doing that at highway speeds with tires on surfaces at different levels and on varied surfaces often leads to flipping.

Focusing on the possible mistakes of a deceased driver may seem callous, but understanding why accidents such as this one in Chatham County occur helps improve road construction, vehicle design and driver instruction. My Carolina personal injury and wrongful death law firm colleagues and I also know that going through the crash reconstruction process yields an explanation that allows courts and insurers to assign culpability and liability. Both are essential for providing peace of mind to innocent victims and their families, while also letting those hurt or left without loved ones through no fault of their own seek compensation through insurance claims and, if necessary, civil lawsuits.


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