A Charlotte, North Carolina (NC), driver faces misdemeanor death by vehicle and reckless driving charges after hitting and killing a pedestrian before sunrise on October 30, 2017. The fatal collision happened near the intersection of Monroe Road and Sardis Road North, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police received the call at 6:08 am.
First responders found the pedestrian dead from his injuries. He was later identified as a 62-year-old Navy veteran who had also served with distinction as the first African American volunteer firefighter and EMT in the nearby town of Waxhaw. The driver struck him as he crossed the road to get to the fast food restaurant where he currently worked.
The Charlotte Observer noted that man was the “sixth pedestrian to die in a crash in Charlotte during the month of October and the third in as many days.”
The newspaper also pointed to U.S. Department of Transportation data that show “pedestrian deaths increased 9 percent nationwide in 2016” and “early 6,000 pedestrians were killed on the roads.”
Police cited the driver involved in this most recent incident with causing the deadly wreck because he had failed to scrape frost from his windshield. The charge of misdemeanor death by vehicle requires acting negligently. Driving with one’s vision impaired by unscraped ice meets the definition of negligence. The second charge of reckless driving indicates that officers considered the driver’s failure to clear his windshield actually constituted, in the language of the applicable state statute, “willful or wanton disregard of the rights or safety of others.”
News reports indicate that the pedestrian who lost his life was crossing midblock. While North Carolina law makes it clear that pedestrians only have undeniable right of way while using crosswalks, section 20-174(e) of the General Statutes also makes clear that “notwithstanding the provisions of this section, every driver of a vehicle shall exercise due care to avoid colliding with any pedestrian upon any roadway,”
Should the family of the man killed in the roadway near Monroe Road and Sardis Road North decided to file wrongful death claims against the insurance of the driver involved, the insurance company will almost definitely argue that the deceased victim contributed to causing the fatal collision. Consulting with a Carolina wrongful death attorney who has experience helping people hit and harmed by distracted or temporarily blinded drivers could help the family counter that attempt to avoid paying compensation and damages for their policyholder’s negligent and reckless behavior.