Caratoke Highway/U.S. 158 through Moyock, North Carolina (NC), was the scene of two related tragedies early in the morning of August 30, 2020. Separate vehicles struck and killed two pedestrians within minutes of each other at around 2 am.
According to information released by the Currituck County Sheriff’s Office, the first fatal collision was a hi-and-run. The other pedestrian who lost their life had entered the roadway to assist the first victim. Neither of the deceased individuals had been publicly identified a day after the crashes.
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The vehicle of the driver who fled the scene was captured on surveillance video. Law enforcement is asking everyone in northeastern North Carolina and southeastern Virginia to be on the lookout for a silver or goldfish-colored mid-1990s Toyota Camry with a cracked windshield, damaged driver’s side headlight and a driver’s side mirror housing with a missing mirror. The suspect’s car is believed to have Virginia license plates.
Any person who spots a car matching that description should call the Highway Patrol at (252) 792-4101 or the sheriff’s office nonemergency number at (252) 232-2216). The driver involved in the subsequent fatal pedestrian accident stopped and remained on the scene until police and emergency medical personnel arrived.
The Hit-and-Run Victim’s Family May Have Legal Options
It is unclear from news reports how the first deadly crash happened. The 600 block of Caratoke Highway through Moyock is a four-lane divided highway with a posted speed limit of 45 mph. A mix of businesses and private residences border both the eastbound and west bound lanes. Although there are no stoplights or crosswalks, there are clearly marked intersections at which pedestrians would be legally allowed to cross.
If investigators determine that the first pedestrian was crossing at an intersection or walking along the wide, grassy shoulder, the hit-and-run driver would arguably be at fault and potentially liable for paying wrongful death claims. Uninsured motorist (UM) coverage allow an injured party to pursue a hit and run case against “John Doe” where the driver is never located.
In such a situation, the family of the deceased person would benefit from carrying uninsured motorist (UM) overage. Auto insurance policies issued in North Carolina must include UM provisions. The coverage allows victims of hit-and-run drivers, in particular, to seek compensation through their own policy when no other policy is available.
However, the insurance company will question and contest UM claims as vigorously as they do claims from people they do not insure. For this reason, personal injury and wrongful death attorneys make our services available to individuals who must file UM claims.
What About the Potential Good Samaritan?
The same uninsured motorist provisions protect a Good Samaritan, but the ability to recover damages would depend on where this second pedestrian was located when the first crash happened.
Whether the second driver will have liability will also depend on the exact facts of the subsequent collision. North Carolina enforces an antiquated and unjust rule called contributory negligence. If evidence shows that the second driver was completely at fault, a wrongful death claim would succeed. If, however, the Good Samaritan contributed to causing the crash, North Carolina would bar any recovery
Things that could point to the driver’s liability would be speeding, refusing to slow down and move over when approaching the site of the earlier crash, or becoming distracted in the seconds before running into the second pedestrian. While law enforcement are completing their investigation and preparing their report, family members of both deceased pedestrians could benefit from consulting with an experienced North Carolina wrongful death attorney.