A group participating in an annual Labor Day Weekend wagon train trek across Haywood County, North Carolina (NC), fell victim to a deadly rear-end collision. The fatal wreck involving a pickup truck happened at around noon on September 1, 2017.
The wagon train was on Jonathan Creek Road in the town of Maggie Valley west of Asheville when the pickup slammed into it. A man who got pinned under the truck went to a local hospital with critical injuries, and a boy described as being between the ages of 8 and 12 also required hospital treatment. Several others suffered minor injuries.
One of the men from the group of horse-drawn vehicles died at the scene while lying in the roadway. A horse that got knocked over a guardrail needed to be euthanized, and a second horse went to a veterinary clinic with a fractured leg.
Troopers from the State Highway Patrol responded to the wreck. News reports do not indicate if law enforcement officials filed charges against the pickup truck driver, but he may have violated a provision of state law that makes it legal for horse-drawn vehicles to use all roads other than interstates and requires drivers to give those slower vehicles wide berth.
Section 20-216 of the North Carolina Code specifically states, “Any person operating a motor vehicle shall use reasonable care when approaching or passing a horse or other draft animal whether ridden or otherwise under control.” Similar, but separate, laws apply to passing bicycles, mopeds, and pedestrians.
Neglecting to obey that law would make the man driving the pickup on Johnson Creek Road through Maggie Valley responsible for taking a life, injuring at least two people, and causing all the other terrible consequences of the rear-end collision. That responsibility would also make him liable for settling insurance claims for a wrongful death, personal injuries and loss of property.
The investigation into the crash will need to be completed before fault and liability can be assigned. Consulting with an experienced and caring Carolina wrongful death attorney and personal injury lawyer while investigators continue their work will benefit the victims. A legal advisor and representative will stay in touch with officials, keep victims full updated, and deal with insurance company representatives while the victims grieve and recover physically and emotionally.