A head-on collision in Wake County, North Carolina (NC), east of Raleigh in the early morning hours of April 8, 2018, left a husband dead, his wife critically injured and the at-fault driver facing multiple felony charges. The deadly crash happened at the intersection of U.S. Route 64/Knightdale Boulevard and Old Milburnie Road.
State Highway Patrol troopers responded to the crash scene at 1:50 am. According to court documents, they found a 28-year-old man with the “odor of alcohol on [his] breath, bloodshot glassy eyes” and admitting to being drunk. They charged him with felony serious injury by vehicle, driving while impaired and driving the wrong way.
Authorities identified the deceased victim as a 44-year-old Wake County resident. His wife, also 44, was hospitalized with what court documents describe as a “traumatic life-threatening” injury.
This tragedy on U.S. 64 in Knightdale highlights three ever-present dangers on North Carolina roads and highways. First, DWI takes a terrible toll. During 2016, the state’s Department of Motor Vehicles recorded 8.226 crashes in which the at-fault driver was intoxicated by alcohol. Out of those wrecks, 240 resulted in deaths and 4,303 caused injuries serious enough to require hospital treatment.
One of the reckless acts drunk drivers commit most enough is driving the wrong way into oncoming traffic. For 2016, the North Carolina DMV recorded 9,368 crashes attributed to crossing the center line or going the wrong way. Just more than 4,300 of those wreck resulted in injuries and 290 of them resulted in at least one person’s death.
The final problem revealed by this fatal head-on collision on U.S. 64 in Knightdale involves the high number of drivers who may lack car insurance. Troopers learned that the at-fault driver is a noncitizen. While this does not automatically mean that he was operating without a valid driver’s license or up-to-date insurance, chances are good that he does not have adequate coverage to settle wrongful death and personal injury claims.
The family of the man who lost his life and the injured woman should have access to uninsured motorist coverage through their own insurance policies. North Carolina requires licensed drivers to carry such coverage. That does not resolve every complication, however.
As my Carolina wrongful death attorney colleagues and I caution elsewhere on our website, “If you are injured in a car crash caused by a UM/UIM driver, don’t assume that your insurance company will willingly hand over the damages you deserve under your insurance policy. Even though it may be “your” insurance company, they may do whatever they can to manipulate you into settling for less.”
Partnering with a dedicated and caring wrongful death attorney will help the family clear away the barriers to an uninsured motorist claim.