A head-on collision in Swansea, South Carolina (SC), on the morning of June 9, 2017, left a longtime Lexington County EMS employee dead. The two-vehicle wreck happened in the 500 block of Highway 6, where the two-lane state highway changes names from St. Matthews Road to E. 1st Street.
According to a news release from Highway Patrol investigators, a car traveling east crossed the double yellow line in the center of Highway 6 at around 7:10 am. He collided with the westbound SUV driven by 42-year-old Carmen Franco Nunez of Cordova, who succumbed to her injuries shortly after being airlifted to a hospital. The county coroner recorded the cause of death as multiple bodily trauma.
The at-fault driver died at the scene. It is unknown why he crossed the center line. Two explanations investigators will need to consider are drowsy driving and speeding. People are particularly prone to nodding off behind the wheel during the morning. As noted in a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention factsheet, driving after not getting adequate sleep puts people at risk for causing serious crashes because they
- Are less able to pay attention to changes in road conditions and traffic flows;
- Are slower to react to situations that require changing direction, slowing down or stopping to avoid a collision; and
- Are unable to reach appropriate decisions quickly.
Speeding -- defined as both exceeding a posted speed limit and driving too fast for conditions -- can be as dangerous as falling asleep at the wheel, especially on two-lane roads. An analysis of speed-related crashed conducted for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration revealed that a significantly higher number of fatalities occurred when drivers rounded curves a too high at rate of speed than under any other circumstances.
Even though the man who struck and killed the Lexington County EMS employee also lost his life in the head-on collision, his insurance policy will remain in effect until legitimate claims get settled. Insurance companies can make pursuing wrongful death claims against deceased policyholders difficult, so the family of the woman killed on Highway 6 in Swansea is well-advised to seek advice and representation from a knowledgeable and hardworking Carolina wrongful death attorney who will know how to remove barriers to receiving compensations and damages.