A head-on collision in Perquimans County, North Carolina (NC), left a 71-year-old man dead and the other driver facing felony charges. The deadly crash happened east of the town of Hertford on the afternoon of January 17, 2022, and State Highway Patrol investigators believe drug or alcohol use played a role.
Emergency personnel responded to the scene of the crash on Harvey Road to find one driver trapped in a Silverado pickup truck and the other driver outside of his own pickup. The entrapped driver was freed but died before he could be taken to a hospital. The other driver was transported and received treatment for minor injuries.
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Evidence collected during the preliminary investigation into the crash led officials to conclude that the surviving driver crossed the center line of Harvey Road and collide with the oncoming Silverado. The force of the impact was great enough to almost completely destroy both vehicles. Only the two drivers were involved in the wreck.
Further investigation led patrol officers to charge the surviving driver with driving while impaired and felony death by vehicle. The charged driver has been identified as a 41-year-old resident of Moyock.
Serious Charges Mean a Thorough Criminal Investigation
Quoting from section 20-138.1 of the North Carolina General Statutes, a driver commits the offense of DWI when they operate “any vehicle upon any highway, any street, or any public vehicular area within this state while under the influence of an impairing substance; or after having consumed sufficient alcohol that he has, at any relevant time after the driving, an alcohol concentration of 0.08 or more.”
It is unclear from news reports whether officials detected alcohol or drug use by the surviving driver, but the filing of the DWI charge is related to the second serious charge of felony death by vehicle. The applicable North Carolina statute states, “A person commits the offense of felony death by vehicle if the person unintentionally causes the death of another person, the person was engaged in the offense of impaired driving …, and the commission of the offense in subdivision (2) of this subsection is the proximate cause of the death.”
In other words, evidence exists to support the allegation that this fatal head-on collision in Perquimans County would not have happened unless the at-fault driver was impaired by drugs or alcohol. Also, the 71-year-old man’s death resulted directly from the drunk driving crash.
All the evidence gathered to pursue criminal charges can also be used to substantiated claims for compensation for a wrongful death. Consulting with a plaintiff’s attorney who has experience representing DWI victims and families who lost loved ones to reckless or negligent drivers will make it easier to obtain and use the evidence gathered by Highway Patrol investigators.