A collision between an SUV and a motorcycle in Brunswick County, North Carolina (NC), on the afternoon of December 10, 2017, left the motorcyclist fatally injured and the driver of the larger vehicle facing felony charges. The deadly crash happened just before 4 pm at the intersection of Stansbury Road and Old Ferry Connection SW.
A State Highway Patrol spokesperson told reporters that the woman behind the wheel of the SUV ran a stop sign on Stansbury Road and cut off the motorcycle rider. Bystanders revived the 61-year-old motorcyclist from Charlotte using CPR, but he succumbed to his injuries shortly after arriving at New Hanover Regional Medical Center.
Troopers took the SUV driver into custody when they suspected alcohol use, and she was later charged with driving while impaired and felony death by motor vehicle. Proving the later offense requires showing that a driver was under the influence of drugs or alcohol, that an error made by the drunk or drugged driver led to a crash, and that a person lost their life as a result of the actions of the of the DWI driver.
Driving after drinking always puts people at risk for inflicting injuries and causing deaths. According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, “Every day, almost 29 people in the United States die in alcohol-impaired vehicle crashes -- that’s one person every 50 minutes in 2016.”
The agency also presents a table that lists how increasing blood alcohol concentrations make driving dangerous. At a BAC of .08, which all states use as the legal definition of DWI, a majority of people begin to experience the following physical and mental defects:
- Muscle coordination becomes poor (e.g., balance, speech, vision, reaction time, and hearing)
- Harder to detect danger
- Judgment, self-control, reasoning, and memory are impaired
These effects then impair concentration, short-term memory, speed control and information processing (e.g., signal detection, visual search).
My Carolina wrongful death attorney colleagues and I send our deepest condolences out to the friends and families of the motorcycle rider who was hit and killed by the drunk driver on Old Ferry Connection SW in Brunswick County. This tragedy illustrates the deadly consequences of DWI, ignoring stop signals, failing to yield right of way and neglecting to share the road respectfully with motorcycles. Each is preventable, and we urge all drivers to act responsibly by never drinking and driving, and by keeping their attention on the road so they can obey stop signals and spot motorcycle riders.