A multivehicle accident on U.S. 74 in Monroe, North Carolina (NC), proved fatal for a Union County deputy waiting at a stop light to make a left turn onto Sutherland Avenue. The fatal wreck occurred on the morning of November 19, 2014, and it also left the driver of a pickup truck injured badly enough to need hospital treatment.
According to the Enquirer-Journal, the deadly accident began when a semi driver rear-ended a tanker truck stopped at the same intersection as the pickup and police cruiser. A last-second swerve meant to avoid that initial crash forced the tractor-trailer to jackknife and then roll over and land on top of the deputy's vehicle. The trucker now faces a misdemeanor charge of causing a death while operating a motor vehicle.
The newspaper report does not contain information on why the at-fault tractor-trailer driver could not stop in time to prevent the crash. As a Carolina personal injury and wrongful death attorney who has helped victims of numerous crashes caused by trucks, however, I know that speeding, drunk or drugged driving, and fatigue brought on by spending too many overnight hours behind the wheel must be considered.
I also know that no explanation should automatically be considered a valid excuse for sending other people to the hospital or taking a life. Even if a mechanical failure or health emergency is found to have created the situation that led to the wreck, the individual responsible for not performing proper maintenance or pulling off the road to reduce the risk of an accident can and should be held liable.
I send my condolences to the friends and family of the deceased deputy, as well my wishes for a full and rapid recovery to the injured pickup driver.