Two teenaged passengers suffered serious injuries when the SUV in which they were riding ran off the road and flipped over in Lexington, North Carolina (NC), on the night of February 9, 2016. The 18-year-old driver lost his life after being transported to the hospital.
The rollover crash occurred at the intersection of Welcome-Bethesda Road and Calvin Sowers Road. The stage was set when the driver sideswiped a roadside mailbox and punctured two tires. When he attempted to drive off, according to police, he lost control and overcorrected his steering. All three people in the SUV were ejected.
News reports do not include details on why the driver originally left the pavement and hit the mailbox. The road curves at the site of the wreck, suggesting he may have been exceeding a safe speed. Driver distraction may also have played a role, as research suggests that younger drivers are particularly prone to take their eyes and minds off the road when carrying passengers.
One detail reporters did pick up on is that neither of the injured teens were wearing seat belts at the time of the crash. While that violates state law and may have made their injuries more likely, failure to use a seat belt is not considered contributory negligence in the Tar Heel State. This means the injured teens and their parents may be able to seek compensation from the at-fault driver’s.