A runaway towed trailer slammed into a car head-on, killing the female passenger and sending the car’s driver to the hospital with life-threatening injuries. The deadly crash happened on McKendree Church Road in Tarboro, North Carolina (NC), on the afternoon of September 13, 2017.
State Highway Patrol troopers responded to the wreck and confirmed that the man towing the trailer was working for the Edgecombe County Sheriff’s Office. The trailer was loaded with a car tagged for impoundment.
News reports do not include details on why the trailer came loose. Investigators did identify the deceased woman as 41-year-old Koshala Hyman of Tarboro and said she died at the scene. Her husband was driving their car, and he was taken to Vidant Medical Center in Greenville for lifesaving treatment.
State troopers intend to charge the man who allowed the trailer to detach and cross into the path of the victims’ oncoming car. No charges were specified, but one could be a violation of North Carolina’s law on trailers and towed vehicles, which states
No trailer or semitrailer or other towed vehicle shall be operated over the highways of the State unless such trailer or semitrailer or other towed vehicle be firmly attached to the rear of the towing unit, and unless so equipped that it will not snake, but will travel in the path of the vehicle drawing such trailer or semitrailer or other towed vehicle, which equipment shall at all times be kept in good condition.
The law also requires use of “safety chains or cables which shall be of sufficient strength to hold the gross weight of the towed vehicle in the event the primary towing device fails or becomes disconnected while being operated on the highways.” Most states enforce similar laws, which apply to all vehicles regardless of size or design. A motorcycle camper is subject to the same legal standards for security and safety as a cargo container pulled by a semi-truck.
My Carolina wrongful death attorney colleagues and I have focused for years on the dangers posed by runaway trailers. Sheriff’s office -- indeed, any organization devoted to protecting public safety -- should focus on this essential issue, as well. Sadly, the fact that the driver who allowed the trailer to become a deadly and out-of-control battering ram on McKendree Church Road was working for the sheriff could complicate efforts to make him settle insurance claims and pay damages. Working with a dedicated and caring Carolina wrongful death attorney would help the family of the woman who lost her life and the man who suffered severe injuries fight through obstacles to hold the at-fault driver accountable for inflicting so much harm.