August 2009

14-Year-Old Driver Could Face Criminal Charges for Surrey County Car Crash that Killed One Teenager and Injured Three

August 28, 2009, by Michael A. DeMayo

One teenager is dead and another three sustained injuries in a deadly North Carolina car crash involving a 14-year-old driver. According to police, the boy crashed a 2005 Hyundai into a tree at around 1am on August 19.

Chelsie Lynn Thompson, an 18-year-old Mount Airy resident, died from her injuries. The driver and two other male teenagers, 18-year-old Christopher Jordan and 16-year-old Joshua Ingalls also sustained injuries.

Officials say the boy took his mother’s car without permission. They believe that he was speeding when the deadly crash happened.

The boy could face criminal charges.

Teen Drivers
In the United States, 14-year-olds are not allowed to drive. Even when a teenager becomes of age to obtain their learner’s permit and then their driver’s license, there are still requirements that the teen driver must meet in order to earn the right to drive on North Carolina’s roads.

Because of their youth and inexperience, many teen drivers are at risk of becoming involved in a North Carolina car accident unless they exercise the proper safety precautions. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that the 16-19 year age group is the age demographic at highest risk of becoming involved in a motor vehicle accident because:

• Teenagers are not as skilled as older drivers at assessing whether a situation is dangerous.
• Teens have a tendency to speed more than older motorists.
• Teens are more likely not to wear seat belts.
• Teens riding with each other can prove distracting.
• Teens are at risk of drinking and driving.

When a teen driver is reckless or careless, this increases the chances that a North Carolina motor vehicle crash may happen. If you or someone you love was injured in a traffic accident because any driver—regardless of age—behaved negligently, you may have grounds for filing a North Carolina car accident claim or lawsuit.

Car driven by 14-year-old slams into tree!, JusticeNewsFlash, August 21, 2009

14-Year-Old Driver Could Face Charges In Fatal Crash,, August 19, 2009

Teen Drivers: Fact Sheet, CDC

Related Web Resources:
Applying for a Driver License or Learner Permit?,

Can High Speed Limits on Certain Roads Lead to Fatal North Carolina Car Accidents?

August 26, 2009, by Michael A. DeMayo

According to research published in the September issue of the American Journal of Public Health, allowing states to set the speed limits on certain interstates may be the cause of some catastrophic car crashes. The study is the first long-term one of its kind to assess the effect that repealing the National Maximum Speed Law has had on the number of traffic injuries and deaths.

In 1974 and due to the the oil embargo, the law had capped the maximum limit on all interstate roads in the US to 55 mph. The number of traffic deaths dropped to nearly 17% during the first year alone. In 1987, states were allowed to raise the speed limit on certain interstates to 65 mph. When the federally ordered 55 mph speed limit law was repealed, states were allowed to come up with their own speed laws.

Lee Freedman, a lead author of the study and assistant research professor of environmental and occupational health studies at UIC, says that after the National Maximum Speed Limit law was revoked, about 12,500 US traffic deaths occurred as a result. Unfortunately, not all US states were part of the study, but the research indicates that it might be wise for lawmakers to determine whether the speed limits on certain roads should be reduced.

Considering that—per a study conducted by Perdue University—most drivers don’t consider it unsafe to go above the posted speed limit (sometimes by up to 20 mph) it is not that surprising that a higher speed limit on certain interstates may have been the cause of thousands of injuries or deaths.

Per the Purdue survey:

• 21% of motorists don’t think there is anything wrong with driving 5 mph over the speed limit.
• 43% of drivers think going 10 mph above the speed limit is safe.
• 36% of drivers believe that they are practicing safe driving even when they are driving 20 mph above the speed limit.

Speeding can lead to catastrophic North Carolina car crashes for a number of reasons. The faster a car is going, the greater the crash force that can result. A speeding car will also need more time to stop than a car that isn’t going as fast.

Drivers Don’t See Speeding As A Safety Issue, National Safety Commission, August 26, 2009

Higher Speed Limits Cost Lives, Researchers Find, Science Daily, July 18, 2009

Related Web Resources:
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

North Carolina Department of Transportation

Speed and Speed Limits,

Charlotte, North Carolina Car Accident Kills Former NCSU Football Player

August 17, 2009, by Michael A. DeMayo

A Charlotte hit-and-run accident right before 1am on Sunday claimed the life of a former North Carolina State University football player. Edrick Smith was riding in the back of a Honda Accord that was hit by a Camaro, which was speeding at about 80 – 100 mph. The deadly car crash happened at the intersection of Salome Church Road and North Tryon Street.

The driver of the Honda, 30-year-old Hakeem Ward Holloway, and 31-year-old Barry Tyrone Pace, who was also a passenger in the Accord, were hospitalized.

The impact of the North Carolina car accident split the Accord in two. The Camaro’s driver, Hugo Fernando Rosillo, fled the crash site on foot but police later found him. The 30-year-old motorist was taken to the hospital and arrested. He is charged with felony hit-and-run, second-degree murder, and driving while impaired.

Smith, 29, leaves behind his wife, Karisa, and their three children. The former NCSU football player set the record for tackles by a freshman in 1998. He was a possible NFL contender when he got hurt.

Impaired Driving
Driving under the influence of drugs, alcohol, or medication is dangerous and places the lives of the impaired driver and others on the road at stake. On August 21, 2009, police officers in cities throughout North Carolina and other US States will begin their Drunk Driving. Over the Limit. Under Arrest. crackdown in an effort to save lives as we wind our way toward the end of the summer holidays and Labor Day on September 7.

While 6,159 of the almost 13,000 people killed in drunk driving crashes 2007 were drivers between the ages 21 – 34 with a blood alcohol concentration of .08% or greater, a new study shows that older adults are not exempt for binge drinking. Duke University researchers are reporting that out of 11,000 survey participants, 22% of the men and 9% of the women binge drink (consume 5 drinks or more). The findings from this new survey can be found in the latest issue of The American Journal of Psychiatry.

Former N.C. State football player killed in hit-and-run,, August 17, 2009

Former NC State Football Player Edrick Smith Killed in Charlotte Car Crash, MyFox8, August 16, 2009

Survey Finds Binge Drinking Among Older People, Too, US News & World Report, August 17, 2009

Related Web Resources:
Drunk Driving. Over the LImit. Under Arrest, NHTSA

Binge Drinking, CDC

The American Journal of Psychiatry

Vanceboro, North Carolina Car Accident Claims the Lives of Two Women and Injures Seven Passengers

August 15, 2009, by Michael A. DeMayo

Two women are dead and seven people injured following a deadly head-on North Carolina car crash in Vanceboro on Sunday night. The deceased, Loriann Bobotek, 47, and Christina Sonn, 35, are both from Maryland and were headed toward their respective vacation destinations.

Sonn was headed north on US 17 with her best friend, her friend’s daughter, and another teen to the Outer Banks, while Bobotek, along with her two daughters and their friends, was going south to Myrtle Beach. The North Carolina car collision happened as Bobotek tried to overtake the vehicle in front of her. Bobotek’s Dodge Caravan struck Sonn’s small SUV, and both drivers died.

Mark Bobotek, Loriann’s husband, was riding in another car not far behind the vehicle carrying his wife and two daughters. Someone called him to tell him about the Vanceboro car accident and he drove to a Greenville hospital where both his girls were being treated for back injuries.

Bobotek says that his wife drove into oncoming traffic because a car had turned onto her lane. He says she never would have tried to overtake a vehicle just because it was driving slowly.

The passengers from both cars were transported to the hospital. As of yesterday, four of the victims were released and the other car accident victims are expected to survive.

Eric Malagra, Sonn’s 16-year-old son, had driven in another car. He was supposed to meet his mother at a restaurant before heading to Cape Hatteras. After Sonn’s car failed to arrive, Malagra and his friends drove back to find her. By the time they located Sonn’s car, her body was already on a Gurney.

Each day, in the US, lives are lost in car accidents. Many of these auto collisions could have been avoided if another motorist or party had not been behaving carelessly or recklessly. North Carolina car crashes impact not just the lives of the traffic accident victims, but they also can cause devastating trauma to loved ones who must now live with the loss.

Beach trips’ tragic end, Baltimore Sun, August 14, 2009

Two killed, seven injured in Sunday crash, ENC Today, August 10, 2009

Two Md. women die in N.C. collision, Baltimore Sun, August 12, 2009

Related Web Resources:
Head-On Collisions, Transportation Research Board

Car Accidents: Proving Fault, Nolo

Recent North Carolina Car Accidents Result in Multiple Injuries and One Death

August 13, 2009, by Michael A. DeMayo

In North Carolina, eight people were hurt at around 4:30 this morning in a southwest Charlotte multi-vehicle collision at the South Tryon Street and Billy Graham Parkway intersection. Fortunately, none of the injuries appear to be life threatening, but all of the car accident victims were taken to local hospitals.

Also early this morning, a 20-year-old woman was killed and at least three people were hurt in a single-car collision in Burlington. Amber Rose Delac was driving a 2003 Ford Mustang on Lindley Mill Road when her vehicle crossed the center line. Delac, a Graham resident, tried to maneuver her vehicle back to her lane but overcorrected and lost control of the car, striking a ditch.

The car rolled over. Delac, who was not using a seat belt, was partially ejected from the vehicle before getting stuck under the vehicle. North Carolina police pronounced her dead at the Burlington, North Carolina car accident site.

Police say that Delac was distracted when she crossed the center line and that skid marks on the road indicate that she was drive at least 10 miles above the 55-mph speed limit. Three of the passengers riding in the car with Delac sustained injuries. A fourth passenger was taken to the hospital as a precaution. One of the vehicle occupants, 19-year-old Joseph Delac, broke his finger in the North Carolina car crash. None of the vehicle occupants had been wearing seat belts.

North Carolina Car Accident Lawsuits
It is frustrating and painful enough to get injured in a car accident, let alone one that was caused by another party’s negligence or carelessness. As the injured victim, you will likely have to disrupt your life, placing it on hold in certain ways while you take time off from work and other commitments to recover from your injuries. You may also have to contend with additional expenses, such as medical bills, rehabilitation cost, car repair expenses, and lost wages that you did not account for when budgeting your finances.

It is important that you speak with a Charlotte, North Carolina car accident lawyer to determine whether you have grounds for claiming personal injury recovery from the liable party.

Woman killed, 4 passengers receive minor injuries in morning wreck, The Times News, August 13, 2009

8 hurt in overnight wreck, Charlotte Observer, August 13, 2009

Related Web Resources:
Car Accidents: Proving Fault, Nolo

Car Accident Overview, Justia

Honda Recalls More Autos Because of Dangerous Airbag Defect

August 4, 2009, by Michael A. DeMayo

Honda Motor Company has expanded a recall it initiated last November due to an airbag defect. Approximately 440,000 cars have been added to the recall list that now includes 2002-2003 Acura TLs, 2001-2002 Honda Accords, and 2001 Civics.

The airbag defect is linked to one death and six injuries. Apparently, some of the driver-side airbags have inflators that are over-pressurized. This can cause a rupture when the airbags are activated that can lead to metal fragments coming through the airbag and fatally striking a vehicle occupant.

Airbag Defects
Airbags are ideally designed to keep passengers safe during a motor vehicle crash. According to the NHTSA, over the last two decades airbags have saved over 22,000 lives. In order for this to happen, they have to be deployed safely and at the right time, as well as be free from defects. More than 284 airbag-related fatalities have occurred since 1990.

Airbag injuries can occur when the airbag inflates or deflates too quickly, too slowly, or not at all. People have also been known to get hurt because the airbag inflated when it wasn’t supposed to.

Common airbag defects that can lead to injuries or death:

• Faulty deployment
• Improper installation
• Defective design

Injuries that have been known to occur because of side air bag defects:

• Spinal cord injuries
• Traumatic brain injuries
• Facial injuries
• Hand injuries
• Chest injuries
• Pelvic injuries
• Heart injuries
• Chest injuries
• Bone injuries

Proving auto products liability can be a complex and challenging process and one that our Charlotte car accident lawyers are familiar with. We are here to discuss your North Carolina personal injury case with you.