Late Wednesday evening Sterling Loven was headed down Old N.C. 105 with his two daughters, age 13 and 7, when his car plunged more then 200 ft down the side of the Linville Gorge.
Sterling Loven’s car went 100 ft down the embankment before rolling several times, falling another 150 ft, hitting a tree and coming to a stop. After the first 100 ft Sterling Loven, who was not wearing a seat belt, and his oldest daughter were thrown from the car. Loven’s oldest daughter was able to climb back up the embankment and call for help.
When North Carolina (NC) State Highway Trooper Daniel Wakefield arrived on the scene several empty beer cans had been strewn along the path of the car accident. Loven admitted to the North Carolina (NC) State Highway Trooper that he had been drinking, but said that alcohol was not a factor in car accident and that his tire at blown out at the top of the Linville Gorge, causing him to loose control of the car.
An investigation by the North Carolina (NC) State Highway Troopers is on going however, as it took emergency crews over two hours to locate Loven and they were unable to remove the car from the scene Wednesday evening.
Fortunately, according to Daniel Wakefield, Loven’s two daughters were transported to Cannon Memorial Hospital where they sustained only minor injuries. Loven was transported to the Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte where his injuries were reported as non-life threatening.
It is always tragic when a drunk driving car accident involves children, even if it is not life threatening. Sterling Loven was extremely lucky that both himself and his daughters sustained non-life threatening injuries, especially considering Loven was not wearing his seat belt at the time of the accident. According to the NHTSA, an average of 9,500 lives are saved each year by seat belts, and unbelted drivers are four times as likely to die in a car accident. For this reason, it is imperative that all drivers wear their seat belts any time they get behind the wheel of a car.