A tractor-trailer operator faces criminal charges for causing a crash that claimed the life of an experienced Rockingham County paramedic near Eden, North Carolina (NC), on the morning of January 14, 2015. Freezing rain had left ice patches on NC 14 that caused two cars to run off the side of the highway. The EMT who got killed stopped to assist while heading home from his earlier 12-hour overnight shift. The semi that hit him was pulling double trailers, and police told reporters that the trucker was exceeding the speed limit when he lost control on the ice that had wiped out the other vehicles.
Two passengers from the smaller vehicles suffered injuries that required hospital treatment, but it is unclear whether they got hurt in the first collisions or if the truck crash affected them.
The deadly crash illustrates the risks of ice-covered roads and speeding. At the same time, the fatal accident shows how important it is for every driver to slow down and give as much space as possible to emergency responders working at crash scenes. Going faster than is safe for weather conditions can make controlling a vehicle impossible. This is especially true for commercial truck drivers behind the wheels of big rigs that weigh 20 tons or more and are difficult to steer, slow and stop in even the nicest of weather.
Beyond that, North Carolina and most other states have so-called "move over laws" to protect police officers, tow truck operators and EMTs, When anyone approaches an accident, he or she should change lanes or drop their speed to prevent exactly the kind of tragedy that occurred outside of Eden.
My Carolina wrongful death attorney colleagues and I send our deepest condolences to the friends and family members of the paramedic who lost his life while doing his best, on his own time, to helps others.