A rear-end collision on Soco Road in Maggie Valley, North Carolina (NC), left a man and woman hospitalized with serious injuries and led to the death a 6-year-old child. The fatal crash occurred on the afternoon of August 12, 2016.
According to police and witnesses, the operator of a commercial flatbed truck caused the deadly wreck. The injured and deceased victims were in an SUV that had slowed to turn right into a parking lot directly off the rural highway. The truck driver apparently never slowed down or attempted to move over into the open lane to the left before slamming into the back of the SUV.
The force of the impact sent the SUV into the front end of a car waiting to leave the parking lot. That secondary collision did not stop the forward momentum of the SUV, however. It went on to strike a curb and flip over onto its roof. The child in the backseat initially survived the crash but succumbed to injuries at the hospital.
The flatbed driver is expected to face charges. Police did not release details on why he hit the SUV. Possible explanations include becoming too distracted to see and respond to the slowing vehicle in front of him. The commercial truck driver may also have been speeding recklessly, impaired by drugs or alcohol, or too poorly trained to know how to avoid the rear-end collision.
Naming the act of negligence or recklessness that resulted in the injuries to the adults and the death of the child is more than an academic exercise. What the truck driver did or failed to do will determine how police charge him for violating traffic laws and harming others. It will also point to whether he alone bears responsibility for the deadly wreck or whether the company that employed him also contributed to creating a fatal situation.