A pedestrian accident in downtown Davidson, North Carolina (NC), after noon on April 1, 2016, left a professional pet sitter dead and a garbage truck driver facing charges for causing the fatal wreck. The commercial truck driver had been trying to turn left from South Street onto South Main Street when he hit the woman who was in a crosswalk and leading two dogs on leashes. One of the animals also sustained deadly injuries.
A business owner who claimed to have spoken with the truck driver before police and emergency medical personnel arrived told the Charlotte Observer that the trucker driver repeatedly explained that he never saw the woman he hit and killed. The intersection where the crash occurred has a unique double Y shape, meaning the left turn would resemble a U-turn and that both the driver and the pedestrian had green lights.
Charlotte-Mecklenburg police continue investigating and reconstructing the collision, but they filed a preliminary charge of misdemeanor death by vehicle. The offense implies no malicious intent or reckless behavior, but it can mean that a driver acted negligently by not exercising sufficient caution to avoid a crash and protect other people in the roadway. An investigatory finding of negligence could create liability for paying insurance claims and civil damages for a wrongful death.
North Carolina law requires all drivers to yield right of way to people using crosswalks. Pausing before making a left turn and only proceeding once one is sure the way is clear is another legal duty for North Carolina drivers. The truck driver who appears to be at fault for the Davidson fatality may also have been distracted, meaning he failed to keep a proper lookout for pedestrians.
Whatever investigators identify as the final cause of this tragedy, the incident should remind all people traveling through downtown Davidson and everywhere else to keep an eye out for pedestrians. Even a momentary lapse of attention can prove deadly.