A drugged driver is facing murder charges in the wake of a rear-end collision at a stoplight in Wilmington, North Carolina (NC), that left a 2 year old dead and three members of the deceased toddler's family hospitalized with serious injuries. The deadly crash happened at the intersection of Independence Boulevard and Oleander Drive on the morning of November 1, 2016.
Witnesses say the at-fault driver was speeding and weaving in and out of traffic before slamming into the back of the family's SUV near Independence Mall. He proceeded through the intersection for about 300 yards before lurching to a stop after sideswiping another car. It is unclear if anyone in the third vehicle suffered injuries.
Police found used syringes and needles in the at-fault driver's car. He is also well known as an opioid drug abuser to local law enforcement and emergency medical personnel who, according to news reports, have had to inject him with lifesaving NARCAN five times since May of this year. Preliminary charges against the drugged driver include second-degree murder, reckless driving, causing a death while operating a motor vehicle and driving while impaired. A conviction on the last charge would be a second-offense DWI.
Driving under the influence of drugs is a growing problem across the United States. Prescription painkillers like OxyContin (oxycodone) and Vicodin (hydrocode and acetaminophen) are particularly problematic because they make people drowsy, reduce mental focus and lower an individual's sense of risk. A driver who takes a large dose of an opioid medication represents a great risk for causing exactly the kind of fatal tragedy that occurred in Wilmington.
My colleagues and I send our deepest condolences and wishes for full physical recoveries to the surviving victims. Holding the man who took their son's life accountable by filing wrongful death insurance claims against him may prove difficult since he is likely to be uninsured. Consulting with a caring and dedicated Carolina wrongful death attorney would help the grieving parents identify and act on their legal options to obtain compensation and damages.