A head-on collision south of Raleigh, North Carolina (NC), on the night of October 20, 2017, sent three people to hospitals with injuries. The crash, which involved four vehicles, happened a little after 9 pm on I-40 as the interstate passes through the town of Garner.
According to investigators from the Highway Patrol, a Honda Accord driver’s ran across the median near the West Oak Road exits and drove the wrong way in the westbound lanes for a short distance until he collided with a Dodge Challenger. Debris from both of those cars flew into two other vehicles. News reports do not indicate which vehicles contained the injured victims.
Troopers filed preliminary charges of reckless driving and driving while impaired against the man operating the Honda. DWI explains many head-on collisions and wrong-way crashes. Alcohol and drugs cloud judgment and blur eyesight. Making street signs and road marking difficult to see and comprehend. Getting drunk or high also makes a driver more like to lose concentration and less like to respond appropriately when his or her vehicle runs out of its lane. Last, intoxication brings on drowsiness or loss of consciousness. Falling asleep behind the wheel creates life-threatening dangers for everyone on the road.
North Carolina treats drunk and drugged driving separately from reckless driving. Under state statutes, a driver can be considered reckless if he or she operates “carelessly and heedlessly in willful or wanton disregard of the rights or safety of others.” Going across an interstate median and continuing on into the path of oncoming traffic would meet that definition regardless of whether a driver was impaired by drugs or alcohol.
Fortunately, all three of the people hospitalized following the head-on collision on I-40 in Garner are expected to survive, though it is unclear from news accounts whether any permanent disabilities will result. When the victims’ health allows them to do so, they should consider contacting a Carolina personal injury lawyer who has experience in holding wrong-way drivers financially accountable for their reckless behavior. Working with a plaintiff’s attorney who also has a strong track record of suing drunk and drugged drivers would also help the victims of this wreck because impaired drivers can be found to have additional obligations to pay punitive damages to the people they harmed.