A four-car-accident rocked Columbus County, North Carolina on April 25, 2014. A seventeen-year-old driver caused a chain-reaction car crash that resulted in the deaths of two children and one elderly man. The accident happened near Gaston Sellers Rd. and U.S. 701, south of Whiteville.

The teen unsuccessfully tried to pass 78-year-old Pearlie James Brown’s vehicle in a No Pass Zone and hit Mr. Brown’s fender when he veered back into his lane. Mr. Brown then lost control of his car and hit a third-car head-on. The third car was carrying two girls, age 8 and 13. Columbus County Assistant Coroner William Hannah reported that Mr. Brown and the two minor girls died in the crash.

While debris damaged a fourth car, the occupants were uninjured. The other three passengers in the teen’s car suffered only minor injuries.

The teen has been charged with three counts of misdemeanor death, driving without a license, and driving left of center.

It is a criminal offense to drive without a license or a learner’s permit in North Carolina. An underage driver’s inexperience on the road can rob families of their loved ones – young and old. Teenagers are easily distracted, more impulsive, and more likely to lose control of a vehicle than adult drivers.

A family who is grieving from the sudden loss of a loved one may want to pursue a wrongful death action but may not know where to start. While the days, weeks, and even months after a family member’s death are full of upheaval, it’s important not to wait to seek out an experienced wrongful death attorney because the statute of limitations for a wrongful death action in North Carolina is only two years, regardless of whether a criminal action is ongoing against the at-fault driver. Damages in a wrongful death action can extend well beyond funeral and burial costs to include loss of future income, loss of companionship, and sorrow and mental anguish. For more information, see this comprehensive article on North Carolina Wrongful Death Lawsuits.