Speeding around a slight curve northeast of Durham, North Carolina (NC), appears to have set the stage for a five-vehicle wreck that sent several drivers and passengers to hospitals on the afternoon of May 12, 2017. The crash happened close to the intersection of North Duke Street and Stadium Drive, and the at-fault driver lost his life.
According to police, a BMW sedan crossed the center line of Duke Street and sideswiped a car traveling in the opposite direction. The BMW continued into the path of an SUV and lost its left front tire in that secondary collision. The loose tire flew into the windshield of another car, causing that driver to swerve and hit a fifth vehicle. The individuals in the first sideswiped car and the driver of the SUV escaped injury. All the other people involved sustained serious, but not life-threatening, injuries.
News reports indicate that the man who crossed the double yellow line on four-lane Duke Street was going too fast. Little else was immediately known about the cause of the crash, but his leaving his lane should be enough to allow the injured survivors to file personal injury claims against his insurance policy.
Section 20-146(d) of the North Carolina Code of Laws states, in part,
Whenever any street has been divided into two or more clearly marked lanes for traffic, the following rules in addition to all others consistent herewith shall apply. (1) A vehicle shall be driven as nearly as practicable entirely within a single lane and shall not be moved from such lane until the driver has first ascertained that such movement can be made with safety.
Violating that rule makes a driver negligent even if no moving violation charge is -- or, as in this instance, can be -- brought. Such negligence is also quite common. An analysis of crashes involving cars and trucks in North Carolina revealed that the second-most common scenario involved the truck crossing the center line of a rural highway like the one where this Durham sideswipe occurred.
Even though the at-fault driver died shortly after being transported to the hospital, his insurance policy will remain in effect until all legitimate claims are resolved by settlement or in lawsuits. Working with an experienced Carolina personal injury lawyer will help the victims of the multivehicle crash on Duke Street deal with insurance representatives and explore their options for accessing underinsured motorist coverage provisions of their own policies.