A collision between a dump truck and a Honda Accord in central eastern North Carolina left a toddler and the driver of the car dead. State Highway Patrol troopers have cited the construction vehicle operator with causing the deaths.
The fatal crash happened in the rural Lenoir County community of Pink Hill, which is north of Jacksonville and east of Fayetteville. Investigators say the dump truck crossed the center line of Highway 258 while traveling north between Pleasant Hill Road and Jonestown Road. The highway has two lanes that are divided by a solid yellow line and a broken yellow line. Those pavement markings indicate that no passing is allowed and that drivers must stay to the right of the dashes.
The driver of the car appears to have died on impact. A Good Samaritan performed CPR on the toddler, but that young boy also passed away at the scene.
Authorities have filed at least one charge of misdemeanor death by motor vehicle against the dump truck operator, who suffered injuries that required hospital treatment. Additional charges may follow once it becomes clear why the dump truck went left of center. Possible explanations include speeding around a curve, becoming distracted behind the wheel, or experiencing mechanical problems with steering or brakes.
This tragedy on Highway 258 in Lenoir County illustrates how essential it is to keep a heavy truck under control at all times. During 2016, the North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles recorded 2,040 crashes involving large, multi-axle trucks. Those wrecks resulted in 570 injuries and 19 deaths. The size and weight differences between the dump truck and the Honda Accord practically ensured that that two people in the car would add to this terrible list, especially in a collision occurring at 55 mph or higher.
My Carolina wrongful death attorney colleagues and I send our deepest condolences out to the family and friends of the driver and young child who lost their lives in this head-on collision. We know from decades of experience that the pain and suffering inflicted by negligent or inattentive drivers of large trucks extend far beyond the harm done to the individuals in the vehicles they hit. For this reason, we urge all commercial truck drivers and construction vehicle operators to stay alert and exercise caution at all times. Doing otherwise puts too many other people’s lives and health at risk.