A 90-year-old man suffered fatal injuries when a SUV struck him in a Bi-Lo grocery store parking lot in Charlotte, North Carolina (NC). The deadly pedestrian crash happened at around 1 pm on December 11, 2017, and Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police continue investigating to determine the cause.
Law enforcement and emergency medical personnel found the elderly pedestrian critically injured in the parking lot near the intersection of Mt. Holly-Huntersville Road and Bellhaven Boulevard. They had the man transported to Carolinas Medical Center-Main, but he died the following day.
Authorities have asked anyone who witnessed the collision to share what they saw by calling Crime Stoppers at (704) 334-1600. The normal rules of pedestrian and driver right of way do not apply directly to parking lots, so investigators want to collect as much information as possible before making an official determination of fault.
One section of the North Carolina General Statutes that might come into play is 20-173(c), which states, “The driver of a vehicle emerging from or entering an alley, building entrance, private road, or driveway shall yield the right-of-way to any pedestrian, or person riding a bicycle, approaching on any sidewalk or walkway extending across such alley, building entrance, road, or driveway.”
Regardless of what police conclude about the driver’s possible negligence in causing this fatal pedestrian crash in Charlotte, all people should recognize that collisions with pedestrians in parking lots are not rare occurrences.
When safety officials in Montgomery County, Maryland (MD), looked at a single year of local crash reports, they discovered that during 2012, “nearly 30 percent of pedestrian collisions occurred in parking lots/garages.” Further analysis revealed that drivers hit people on foot most often when the driver was backing out of a parking space or driving straight in a through lane. The other risky maneuvers were, in order, entering or exiting the lot, allowing their vehicle to roll while it was unattended and pulling into a parking spot.
Especially during this year-end holiday season when all parking lots and parking garages near stores and malls can be expected to be packed with both vehicles and pedestrians, my Carolina wrongful death attorney colleagues and I urge everyone to keep an eye out for each other. Drivers should move slowly, triple check blind spots before backing or turning, and yield right of way even when they are not sure they absolutely have to under law. A momentary inconvenience may make all the differences in ensuring a pedestrian escapes injury.