A head-on collision between a pickup truck and a car outside of Lumberton, North Carolina (NC), left an innocent mother and daughter dead. Four other children suffered injuries in the wreck on Deep Branch Road sometime between 7:30 am and 8:00 am on February 12, 2018.
According to State Highway Patrol troopers, a man driving a pickup truck caused the deadly wreck. He reportedly ran off the right side of the rural two-lane highway, overcorrected his steering, and wound up crossing the double yellow line after getting back onto the roadway.
The resulting crash killed a 33-year-old mother and her 13-year-old daughter in a car. The deceased woman’s 8-year-old son was in the backseat. He sustained severe injuries and needed to be airlifted from the scene for lifesaving treatment.
Three teenaged girls in the pickup also suffered injuries that required hospital treatment. It is unclear from news reports if the at-fault driver got hurt.
Troopers have charged the man behind the wheel of the pickup with two counts of misdemeanor death by motor vehicle and two counts of reckless driving. Under the North Carolina General Statutes, a driver is considered reckless when he or she
- Drives any vehicle upon a highway or any public vehicular area carelessly and heedlessly in willful or wanton disregard of the rights or safety of others or
- Drives any vehicle upon a highway or any public vehicular area without due caution and circumspection and at a speed or in a manner so as to endanger or be likely to endanger any person or property.
We cannot know why the pickup driver initially lost control of his vehicle on Deep Brach Road. Perhaps he was speeding around a curve, or he may have allowed himself to become distracted and could not react appropriately to a change in traffic or road conditions. Maybe, given the early morning time of the fatal collision, he was drowsy and falling asleep behind the wheel.
Regardless of the exact explanation, the terrible outcome occurred after he overcorrected his steering once his tires went off the pavement. My Carolina wrongful death attorney colleagues and I have written often about the dangers of panicking and oversteering when an encountering an unexpected situation. The safest thing to do when you run off the road is to brake gently, move all the way onto the shoulder or median, stop, collect yourself, and watch for an opportunity to reenter the roadway without risking a crash. We urge more drivers to adopt these lifesaving practices.