Drunken driving may have led to a fatal crash in Ash, North Carolina (NC), at the beginning of the 2015 Memorial Day weekend. The two-vehicle wreck occurred at around 10 pm on May 22, 2015, at the intersection of NC 130/Whiteville Road and Longwood Road. Two people lost their lives, and four other individuals suffered injuries ranging from serious to life-threatening.
According to reports, the at-fault driver ignored a stop sign on the side street and entered the highway without slowing considerably. A passenger in that driver's car died, as did a person riding in the back seat of the car that the stop sign-running driver hit. People in both vehicles also ended up hospitalized.
Police suspect alcohol use may have played a role in causing the fatal wreck, but law enforcement officers were waiting for the results of blood tests before deciding whether to file DWI charges. The at-fault driver was initially charged only with causing a death while operating a motor vehicle.
Drunk or not, ignoring a stop sign or red light sets the stage for tragedy. Yielding right of way is one the safest and most responsible things any driver can do. Simply put, letting oncoming traffic clear an intersection before turning, merging or crossing guarantees no crash will occur. Conversely, trying to save a few seconds by speeding out into a small gap makes having a collision much more likely than not.
Where a provable DWI charge factors into this particular deadly crash is that getting drunk or high impairs a person's attention and increases an individual's willingness to take risks. Intoxication may have made seeing the stop sign both difficult and easier to disregard even if spotted. Whatever happened, the decision making was flawed enough to create a situation that left two people dead. My deepest condolences go out to those deceased victims' friends and family members.
Even more important than which criminal charges get levied and how they are resolved is that car insurance should be available to compensate the families of the two people who lost their lives as well as to cover the medical expenses, pain and temporary or permanent disabilities suffered by the surviving victims. Each of the persons other than the driver who was negligent or reckless should all have strong claims to make against the at-fault driver and, possibly, the individual behind the wheel of the other vehicle.