A Thursday evening car accident in North Carolina highlights two of the single riskiest driving behaviors all wrapped into one terrible wreck. Police in Wake County, North Carolina say that a drunk driver was on his cell phone texting when he drifted out of his lane and off the shoulder of the road, colliding with two men who had stopped to change a flat tire.
Police officers say that the distracted drunk driver collided with Sixto Gallegos and Alejandro Marcias, two 26-year-old landscapers. The men had pulled over when a tire on their company truck began losing air a little after 6 p.m. Tony Richardson was driving his Nissan pickup truck and in the midst of typing a text message to a friend when he swerved out of his lane and crashed into the innocent bystanders.
Police say that Richardson was arrested at the scene of the accident and was charged with DWI, driving without a seat belt, having an expired tag and driving while texting. The two injured men were taken by ambulance to WakeMed for treatment and officials have not yet revealed their condition.
Though Richardson’s accident is especially horrible given the often-deadly combination of intoxication and texting, North Carolina Highway Patrol officials say the accident was the second one that occurred in North Carolina yesterday caused by a texting driver.
The other wreck happened when a Cary, NC driver lost control of his SUV and crashed into two other cars while traveling along I-540 yesterday morning. The accident closed down several lanes of traffic for hours and sent one woman to the hospital.
Police say this earlier accident occurred when Aaron Artis, a 26-year-old, looked down at his phone to read an incoming text message. By the time he was able to look back up, he found himself barreling into another vehicle that had slowed due to traffic. Artis then swerved to avoid rear-ending that car and collided instead with two others, side-swiping a Toyota Corolla and then a VW Passat. The driver of the Corolla, Laura Labton, was taken to Duke University Hospital where doctors say she remains in serious condition.
This second accident highlights the real danger of texting while driving. In this case, Artis only took his eyes off the road for a few seconds, yet in thick morning traffic that it is all takes to cause a serious accident. Only a few moments of distraction are needed for traffic patterns to change, which is why it is so crucial that North Carolina drivers keep both eyes on the road at all times.
Here’s a Google Map showing the location of the first accident accident: