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Tire Blowout Cited as Cause of Fatal I-85 Wrong-Way Crash

A three-vehicle wreck on I-85 through Lexington, North Carolina (NC), left one person dead and several others hospitalized with injuries. The wrong-way crash involving a pickup truck, a Jeep SUV and a minivan happened near the exit to Hargrave Road at 3 pm on February 12, 2017.



According to State Highway Patrol investigators, the deadly incident unfolded when the pickup truck suffered a tire blowout. The driver of the truck, identified as a resident of Ringgold, Virginia (VA), lost control and ran across the interstate median.

Shortly after entering the path of oncoming traffic, the pickup collided with the Jeep SUV. The Pennsylvania man in the SUV died at the scene.

After the second collision with the van, a total of seven people required intensive medical treatment. One of the surviving victim was a 12-year-old passenger.

Law enforcement officials charged the pickup driver with a misdemeanor for causing a death while operating a vehicle and with using unsafe tires. As explained in section 20-141.4 of the North Carolina Code, the criminal charge applies when a death from a car accident is considered unintentional and the direct result of a violation of a state law other than driving while intoxicated.

What the death by motor vehicle statute would identify as the “proximate cause” of the fatality would be driving on bad tires. Another provision of North Carolina’s laws requires all vehicles registered in the state to pass an annual inspection that includes checking tires to ensure they “do not do not expose the public to needless hazard.” Virginia enforces an identical annual vehicle inspection law.

Tire blowouts lead to thousands of serious and fatal crashes each year. Sometimes, a product defect or manufacturer’s error makes a tire a threat to health and safety. More often, neglected maintenance is to blame. Annual inspections are designed to ensure the enforcement of defective product recalls and the replacement of excessively worn tires.

Problems with the pickup truck’s tire design and production will need to be investigated along with possible negligence by the pickup driver who ended up traveling the wrong way on I-85 when his tire blew out. Depending on what those investigations reveal, the family members of the person who lost his life and the innocent injured survivors could have insurance claims against the tire maker and the at-fault driver. Consulting with a caring and knowledgeable Carolina wrongful death and personal injury attorney will help those negatively affected by this crash in Lexington, NC understand and enforce their legal rights to seek compensation and damages.


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