A chain-reaction crash on the interstate through Lumberton, North Carolina (NC), involving three commercial trucks and three passenger vehicles killed five people and sent four others to hospitals with injuries. The fatal wreck happened in a work zone between mile markers 7 and 10 on I-95.
Highway Patrol investigators told reporters that the deadly incident started with a rear-end collision caused by a tanker truck driver who could not slow down quickly enough as he approached a line of vehicle merging into a single travel lane to make room for a lane line painting crew. Television station WRAL summarized the sequence of events this way: “The tanker … hit a Dodge pickup truck, pushing it into a Ford Explorer SUV. That Explorer then was pushed into the rear of a Ford Escape SUV.” The other two tractor-trailers were hit by tanker truck as it continued onward after striking the pickup.
Four of the deceased victims were members of the same family in one of the SUVs. A 1-year-old infant and a 4-year-old girl died at the scene. The at-fault tanker truck driver also died from injuries suffered in the collision and the fire sparked by his load of gasoline. Three of the injured survivors were listed in critical condition, and the fourth was admitted to the hospital in serious condition.
Deadly pileups like this one on I-95 near the North Carolina-South Carolina border are not rare. Statistics compiled by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) reveal that in 2015, “27 percent of work zone fatal crashes and 11 percent of work zone injury crashes involved at least one large truck.”
An earlier FMCSA study showed that rear-end collision due to failure to slow or stop in time when speeds drop suddenly lead to many of the deaths and injuries in interstate work zones. Traveling too fast for conditions contributed to more than one-quarter of such wrecks, and “colliding with the rear end of another vehicle in the truck's travel lane” was responsible for 22 percent of the crashes.
Commercial truck drivers are required to carry multiple forms of insurance, and the victims may need to access underinsured provisions of their own insurance policies to receive adequate compensation and damages. Working an experienced Carolina wrongful death attorney and personal injury lawyer will help them sort through the legal issues and resist pressure to agree to unfair settlements.