The driver of a Hackney delivery truck slammed into the back of a Dodge van on U.S. Highway 19/74 in Cherokee County, North Carolina (NC) leading to the death of two young children.  As a result, the driver was charged with two counts of misdemeanor death, according to Cherokee Scout.

In North Carolina, misdemeanor death is defined as:

(1)  The person unintentionally causes the death of another person,
(2)  The person was engaged in the violation of any State law or local ordinance applying to the operation or use of a vehicle or to the regulation of traffic, other than impaired driving under G.S. 20‑138
(3)  The commission of the offense in subdivision (2) of this subsection is the proximate cause of the death.

Misdemeanor death is a Class A1 misdemeanor, a very serious type of misdemeanor under NC law. Even for first time offenders, someone convicted of an A1 misdemeanor can be sentenced to time in jail.

My colleague Emily Mapp Brannon wrote about this heartbreaking truck wreck when it first happened and we are not surprised charges were filed against the at-fault truck driver.

The two children were on vacation with their parents and other sibling (who suffered serious injuries from the accident). The family was originally from Trion, Georgia (GA).

Was the truck driver distracted in some way when the crash occurred? Was he speeding? We don’t know since details of what exactly happened haven’t been released. The driver has to face both the criminal responsibility outlined above, as well as the civil injury liability, which involves insurance, usually provided by the trucking company employer.  At times, there are also other insurance policies involved if the driver is an owner of a tractor portion of a big rig or semi.