A woman who fled the scene of a fatal pedestrian crash in Hoke County, North Carolina, early in the morning of Thanksgiving Day 2017 now faces multiple felony charges. The deadly hit-and-run collision happened on Wayside Road just off U.S. 401 at around 2 am on Nov. 23, 2017.
A press release from the NC Highway Patrol indicates that the pedestrian’s family found him critically injured and lying in a ditch at around 4 am. They took the 20-year-old man to Cape Fear Valley Hospital, but he was pronounced dead upon arrival.
Local police notified state troopers of the identity of the driver who fled the scene when she filed a false report with the Hoke County Sheriff’s Office later the same day. The at-fault driver originally claimed that she had not hit a person and that the crash happened at a different location. When she later revealed the truth, she was taken into custody and charged with driving while impaired, driving left of center, expired registration, felony leaving the scene of an accident and felony death by motor vehicle.
A key provision of North Carolina’s hit-and-run law is that any driver involved in a wreck “shall render to any person injured in such crash reasonable assistance, including the calling for medical assistance if it is apparent that such assistance is necessary or is requested by the injured person.” Neglecting this duty can turn a survivable crash into a deadly tragedy.
The role alcohol use played in this fatal pedestrian crash in Raeford can also not be overlooked. Statistics compiled by the state’s Division of Motor Vehicles show that North Carolina saw 415 alcohol-related traffic fatalities during 2015. Since getting drunk impairs judgment and decision-making, a driving under the influence of alcohol makes a person more likely to make an error that results in a collision and, then, to try to flee and escape responsibility.
My Carolina wrongful death attorney colleagues and I send our deepest condolences out to the family and friends of the young man who lost his life so needlessly in Raeford. Knowing the identity of the hit-and-run driver and having her in custody will make it easier to find justice through the criminal courts. The woman who hit and killed the pedestrian should also be held financially accountable through insurance claims or a civil lawsuit. Consulting with an experienced and caring plaintiff’s attorney will help the family understand their legal rights and options.