A hit-and-run collision in Concord, North Carolina (NC), on the night of Septemr 30, 2017, took the lives of two teenaged pedestrians. The deadly wreck happened at the intersection of Concord Parkway/U.S. 29 and Liske Avenue at around 10:15 pm.
Emergency responders found the pedestrians dead from their injuries and learned that the at-fault driver had fled the scene. Witnesses identified the fleeing vehicles as a light-colored sedan, which law enforcement officials found a short distance from the site of the fatal crash.
The at-fault driver and his passenger had abandoned the vehicle and run off, but police tracked them down and placed them under arrest. Preliminary charges filed against the 21-year-old driver include two counts of felony hit-and-run, two counts of felony death by motor vehicle and one count of failing to meet the duty to stop in the event of a crash and render reasonable assistance.
The passenger in the car has also been charged with failing to help the fatally injured teenagers. Section 20-166 of the North Carolina Statutes states, in part, that anyone involved in a crash “shall render to any person injured … reasonable assistance, including the calling for medical assistance if it is apparent that such assistance is necessary or is requested by the injured person.”
The felony vehicular homicide charges reflect the fact that the driver was found to be under the influence of drugs. Driving while impaired makes killing someone while causing a traffic accident a felony offense in North Carolina.
My Carolina wrongful death attorney colleagues and I send our deepest condolences out to the families of the 14-year-old and 15-year-old boys killed by the DWI driver who tried to escape responsibility by fleeing the scene. We thank the police for taking the hit-and-run driver into custody and the witnesses who provided the information that made the quick arrest possible. Holding the reckless and impaired driver criminally accountable is now possible.
Getting the driver to pay wrongful death compensation and damages to the grieving families may prove more complicated. The intersection of Concord Parkway and Liske Avenue is not controlled by stoplights or marked with crosswalks. Since North Carolina courts operate under the legal theory of contributory negligence, the drugged driver can argue that the teens’ own actions led to their deaths. Section 20-174(e) of the NCGS, however, clearly states that at all intersections, “every driver of a vehicle shall exercise due care to avoid colliding with any pedestrian upon any roadway.” Driving under the influence of drugs could have made it impossible for the driver to meet those legal duties, leaving him wholly liable for the deaths.
Partnering with a dedicated and caring Carolina wrongful death attorney could be essential to holding the at-fault driver fully accountable for taking the young teens’ lives and countering claims of contributory negligence.