Details remain sparse, but WAVY-TV 10 is reporting that a collision between a tractor-trailer and a passenger vehicle claimed the life of a senior Elizabeth City State University administrator on July 28, 2014. The deadly crash occurred at the intersection of U.S. Route 17 and NC Highway 45 in northern Bertie County. The television station identify the deceased man as Vice Chancellor for Enrollment Management Myron Burney.
A thorough investigation by state police and local law enforcement personnel will be needed to determine why the fatal wreck occurred. I know from living in and representing dozens of victims of fatal accidents in southeast Virginia and northeast North Carolina that the junctions of two rural highways can be particularly dangerous for all drivers. Speeding, failure to yield, an improper lane change, a too-wide turn, operator impairment by drugs or alcohol, unsafe road conditions and low visibility can all set the stage for tragedy. Regardless of what happened, the outcome was likely avoidable.
ECSU has experienced a sharp decline in its student body over the past decade, and Burney's efforts to reverse that trend were profiled in the Virginian-Pilot the very morning that he died. This loss is sure to hit the campus community hard. Beyond that, family members must cope with the tragic and unexpected death of a loved one. My condolences go out to all the people affected by this accident.