A Fayetteville, North Carolina (NC), pedestrians suffered life-threatening injuries when a car struck him in the 7300 block of Raeford Road early in the morning of July 21, 2017. The driver was later charged with driving while impaired (DWI) and may face other charges.
According to reports, the man behind the wheel of the car initially left the scene before turning around to check on the person he struck and alert police to the crash. News reports do not indicate whether the driver was under the influence of drugs or alcohol when he hit the pedestrian. Either situation would violate section 20-138.1(a) of the North Carolina Code, which states
A person commits the offense of impaired driving if he drives any vehicle upon any highway, any street, or any public vehicular area within this State:
-- While under the influence of an impairing substance; or
-- After having consumed sufficient alcohol that he has, at any relevant time after the driving, an alcohol concentration of 0.08 or more. The results of a chemical analysis shall be deemed sufficient evidence to prove a person's alcohol concentration; or
-- With any amount of a Schedule I controlled substance, as listed in G.S. 90-89, or its metabolites in his blood or urine.
Schedule I drugs in North Carolina include heroin, LSD, psilocybin mushrooms and synthetic marijuana. Prescription medications that can also be linked to impaired driving include opioid painkillers like OxyContin and Vicodin. Amphetamines and methamphetamines can be illegal or components of medications used to control symptoms of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. Having a valid prescription would not provide a guaranteed defense against a DWI charge.
Regardless of why the driver who collided with the pedestrian on Raeford Road in Fayetteville was impaired, the important thing is that the impairment caused him to not see or disregard the presence of the person by the side of the road. The roadway where the collision happened has paved shoulders that can be used as sidewalks or bike lanes. Even at 2 am, drivers should watch for people on the shoulder and stay in their lanes to avoid tragedies.
A coalition of state government agencies, local police departments and Research Triangle universities called Watch for Me NC offers these safety tips for drivers:
- Yield to people in crosswalks.
- Before making a turn, be sure the path is clear of people walking.
- Look behind your vehicle for people before backing up.
- Keep an eye out for people walking at night.
Any person injured by a drunk or drugged driver should reach out to an experienced Carolina personal injury lawyer to discuss their options for holding the at-fault driver accountable. Whatever happens in criminal court, a person who causes a DWI crash should be made to pay compensation and damages to the individuals harmed by that reckless action.