A sudden and improper lane change by a tractor-trailer driver set the stage for a fatal head-on collision in Iredell County, North Carolina (NC). The deadly two-vehicle crash happened in the Mooresville area at around 11:50 pm on March 29, 2018.
According to law enforcement authorities, the driver of the tractor-trailer was traveling eastbound on Highway 150/Oakridge Farm Highway when he crossed the double yellow line on the two-lane road in order to avoid rear-ending a car that had stopped to turn left onto Wiggins Road. The semi driver then collided with an oncoming pickup truck. The impact sparked a fire in the smaller vehicle, and both men inside died at the scene.
News reports identified the deceased victims as men from Statesville who were both 47 years old. The tractor-trailer operator appears to have escaped injury, and it is unclear if he will face charges. Similar wrecks that my Carolina wrongful death attorney colleagues and I have kept track of have resulted in one or more allegations of death by motor vehicle.
It is also likely that that the semi operator violated the North Carolina statute that requires drivers to keep right except when certain road and traffic conditions exist. One provision of that law, section 20-146 of the North Carolina General Statutes, that could apply to this fatal head-on collision on Highway 150 in Iredell County is “A vehicle shall be driven as nearly as practicable entirely within a single lane and shall not be moved from such lane until the driver has first ascertained that such movement can be made with safety.”
The double yellow line at the site of the crash marks the area as a no-passing zone. The tractor-truck driver should have slowed and stopped until the car ahead of him turned and cleared the intersection.
Sadly, serious and deadly crashes like this one near Mooresville happen frequently. During 2016, the North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles recorded the following contributing factors for wrecks that resulted in deaths or inflicted injuries that required hospital treatment:
- Disregarded road markings -- 1,762 crashes, 10 fatal and 607 with injuries
- Crossed center line/Going wrong way -- 9,368 crashes, 290 fatal and 4,303 with injuries
- Other improper passing -- 2,336 crashes, 15 fatal and 605 with injuries
- Swerved or avoided due to wind, slippery surface, vehicle, object, nonmotorist -- 3,861 crashes, 14 fatal and 1,228 with injuries
Our deepest condolences go out to the friends and family members of the men killed on Highway 150 in Iredell County. All drivers must take note of and obey double yellow lines.