A crash involving an SUV and a pickup truck in Newton, North Carolina (NC), left one woman dead and four people injured. The deadly wreck happened a little before 7:30 pm on October 15, 2017.
The SUV ran into the back of the pickup at the intersection of West Seventh Street and Northwest Boulevard/U.S. 321. A witness who had been following the SUV east along Seventh told Newton Police Department investigators that the stop light at Northwest was showing green at the time of the wreck.
A green light does mean that drivers can enter an intersection, but section 20-148(2a) of the North Carolina General Statutes makes clear that drivers approaching a light must stop if vehicles in front of them have not yet moved. Specifically, the paragraph states, “When the traffic signal is emitting a steady green light, vehicles may proceed with due care through the intersection subject to the rights of pedestrians and other vehicles as may otherwise be provided by law.”
The impact sent the pickup off the road and into utility pole. A 44-year-old passenger who had lived in Florida died at the scene, and the driver of the pickup sustained serious injuries. After being transported by ambulance to a local hospital, the woman behind the wheel of the pickup was flown to Charlotte for further treatment.
The SUV driver also required hospital treatment, and two young children riding in the SUV suffered minor injuries that EMTs attended to at the scene.
News reports do not include information about the cause of this rear-end collision in Catawba County southwest of Winston-Salem. Nor is it clear if either driver will face charges. The facts that are publicly available suggest that the SUV driver failed to reduce speed and stop for waiting traffic while approaching the green light. Explanations for such an error could include exceeding the posted speed limit -- which is 20 mph on Seventh Street -- and distracted driving.
If crash investigators discover that the SUV driver behaved negligently or recklessly, both the family of the Florida woman who lost her life and the surviving driver of the pickup would have strong grounds for filing insurance claims or pursuing civil lawsuits. People who inflict injuries and cause deaths by failing to obey traffic regulations and by not responding appropriately to changes in the flow of traffic have legal obligations to pay compensation and damages to the individuals they harm. Working with a caring Carolina wrongful death attorney and an experienced personal injury lawyer will help the victims hold the at-fault driver accountable.