A chain-reaction crash on U.S.15/501 north of Sanford, North Carolina (NC), claimed one life and sent a mother and child to the hospital with injuries. The fatal wreck began as a rear-end collision in a work zone. The man who died was in a car hit from behind by another car. The force of that initial impact pushed the deceased victim's vehicle forward into a stopped SUV. The woman and 9 year old in the SUV survived but required medical treatment.
The driver who caused the crash, identified as a 73-year-old resident of Southern Pines, faces unspecified charges in relation to the wreck. News reports did not indicate why the rear-end collision occurred, but driver distraction and speeding must be considered as factors. Taking one's eyes and mind off the road can make a person unable to recognize and respond to changing traffic conditions like going from highway speeds to a standstill. Simply exceeding the speed limit can also make stopping in time to avoid a crash impossible even if one sees the need to do so.
Investigators may also need to explore whether the at-fault driver experienced a medical emergency ad if his age and general physical and mental condition made driving unsafe for him. Elderly drivers in poor health can pose serious risks on Carolina roads and highways, but giving up the keys is often a difficult decision many individuals and families take too long to make.
Whatever explanation exists, the chain-reaction crash in the work zone cannot be undone. My Carolina wrongful death attorney colleagues and I send our deepest condolences out to the deceased victim's friends and family members. We also urge all drivers to only take the wheel when they can remain focused, responsible and responsive.