North Carolina Highway Patrol troopers continue searching for a hit-and-driver who caused the death of a bike rider in Kings Mountain. The fatal predawn crash happened on Highway 74/Dixon Boulevard on March 19, 2018.
Authorities responded to the scene of the deadly collision a little before 5 am. They found the bicyclist dead from injuries he suffered from the initial impact and from getting struck by four other vehicles. A law enforcement official told reporters that only the driver who first hit the bike rider and then fled the scene would face charges.
This tragedy illustrates the dangers bike riders face from inattentive and negligent drivers. During 2016, the North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles recorded 736 crashes involving bicycles. Those wrecks left 723 bike riders injured and another 18 dead.
Drivers must watch for bicyclists on all roads and highways that are not interstates because North Carolina law classifies bikes as vehicles. Bike riders are also allowed to operate around the clock as long as they use lights at night, which the hit-and-run victim in Kings Mountain did.
Residents of Cleveland County and neighboring Gaston County, where the deceased victim had lived, are being asked to be on the lookout for a 2003-2007 Chevy Silverado with front-end damage. Bringing the hit-and-run driver into custody is essential for holding him or her accountable for breaking the law, which requires anyone involved in a wreck to stop, speak with police, and, when possible, offer first aid to injured persons.
Identifying the hit-and-run driver will also help the bike rider’s family hold the person financially liable for taking their loved one from them. Drivers who flee the scene can potentially leave victims struggling with large expenses. After this cash on Highway 74 in Kings Mountain, the bicyclist’s survivors will need to pay for a funeral, replace the income and other economic contributions he provided, and deal with the loss of companionship and counsel. Finding the at-fault driver will let the family file insurance claims or a wrongful death lawsuit against the person who should pay.
If the hit-and-run driver remains unidentified, the family may be able to file claims under the uninsured motorist (UM) provisions of the victim’s car insurance policy. As my Carolina wrongful death attorney colleagues and I explain elsewhere on our website:
NC law requires that all policies have a minimum of $30,000 per person/$60,000 per accident of UM coverage for injury and $25,000 for property damage, with the option to select higher limits. … In essence, the UM coverage on your policy steps into the shoes of the uninsured at-fault driver and pays damages that person could be held responsible for under the law.
Should they need to invoke UM coverage, the family can seek advice and representation from a caring Carolina wrongful death attorney. The lawyer can deal with insurance reps while the family mourns d recovers emotionally.