October 2009

Bicyclist Killed in Hit and Run North Carolina Car Accident

October 29, 2009, by Michael A. DeMayo

A Summerfield, North Carolina bicyclist is dead after he was struck by a sport utility vehicle in a Guilford County car accident. The driver of the vehicle fled the crash site and police have been looking for the motorist.

On Monday, North Carolina Highway Patrol investigators found a Dodge Durango they believe was involved in the deadly North Carolina car crash. Police say the SUV hit David Sherman from behind and did not stop. Charges have yet to be filed in the hit and run car crash.

Sherman, 55, was a Sealy Corp. vice president. He also was a violinist for the Greensboro Philharmonia. He leaves behind his wife and two kids.

According to the state’s Department of Transportation, 268 people died in North Carolina bicycle accidents between 1997 and 2007.

2008 Pedalcyclist Accident Facts (NHTSA):

• 52,000 pedalcyclists injured
• 716 others killed
• 41 was the average age of pedalcyclists killed; age 31 was the average age for those injured.
• There were more male pedalcyclist accident victims than women victims.

Bicyclists tend to be at a disadvantage when they are involved in a traffic crash with a motor vehicle. Injuries sustained can be catastrophic, which is why it is important that the victim get medical help as soon as possible.

Leaving a North Carolina car accident site is against the law if you were involved in the collision. This is known as hit and run driving. A hit and run motorist may contribute to the injury victim’s death if he or she doesn’t try to get help as soon as possible.

If you or your loved one was injured by a hit and run driver and authorities are still looking for the suspect, you still have legal options.

Highway Patrol: Vehicle in Fatal Hit-and-Run Located, Fox 8, October 25, 2009

Update: Charges Pending In Fatal Hit And Run Of A Triad Cyclist, Digitriad, October 26, 2009

Related Web Resources:
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

Hit and Run Hickory Car Crash Involving Drunk Driver Leaves One Person Dead

October 28, 2009, by Michael A. DeMayo

Hickory police have arrested two people in connection with the North Carolina hit-and-run car crash that killed Charlaine Taylor Sybrant and injured Joshua Keith Gajus on October 18. The North Carolina pedestrians were walking on the side of Highway 321 after their vehicle ran out of gas when they were hit by an auto that did not stay at the crash site.

Sybrant, a 22-year-old Appalachian State student, died at the Hickory car accident site. Gas, 24, injured his leg.

About an hour after the accident, Valdese police stopped a vehicle that was heavily damaged. Daniel Thomas Whisnant, 18, was arrested for driving while impaired, two counts of felony hit and run, felony serious injury by motor vehicle, and felony death by motor vehicle.

A few days after the Hickory drunk driving accident, police arrested Joey Lee Durham, 20, and charged him with one count of felony accessory after the fact. Police believe that Durham was riding in the car driven by Whisnant when he allegedly struck the two pedestrians. They are charging him for not telling police about the Hickory, North Carolina motor vehicle accident.

North Carolina Car Accidents
Even if the driver you believe caused the North Carolina car crash fled the traffic accident site, you should still contact a Hickory car crash lawyer to explore your legal options for recovery. Injuries from an auto accident can be more serious than they at first appear and you may need all the help you can get to cover medical and recovery costs if you want to recover.

Drunk driving, distracted driving, careless driving, driver error, and driver recklessness are among the most common causes of car crashes and negligent motorists can be held liable for personal injury or wrongful death.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 11,733 people died in drunk driving accidents in 2008. That’s 32% of all traffic deaths for the year—that’s nearly 12,000 people who might still be alive today if only certain motorists had not been driving drunk.

Student gets $37,500 after door crushed finger, OC Register, October 27, 2009

Hickory Officials Make Second Arrest in Sunday Morning Deadly Hit-and-Run, GoBlueRidgeNet, October 22, 2009

Alcohol-Impaired Driving, NHTSA 2008 Traffic Safety Facts (PDF)

Related Web Resources:
The Heavy Cost Of Drunk Driving, DrunkDriving.org

Motor Vehicle Safety, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Three-Vehicle Fayetteville Car Crash Involving School Bus Leaves One Woman Dead

October 20, 2009, by Michael A. DeMayo

A 78-Year-Old Cameron, North Carolina woman died on Thursday in a
Fayetteville car crash involving three motor vehicles that occurred early in the morning. Annie Wilson Thomas was riding in a Buick LeSabre driven by Joe Ann Pelchat.

According to police, Pelchat was turning left onto Purdue Drive when she ended up in the path of a school bus. The car-bus accident caused Pelchat’s car to collide head-on with a pickup truck.

Following the multi-vehicle crash, Pelchat was taken to the intensive care for neural monitoring. Fortunately, no one riding the school bus was injured. According to a preliminary police probe, Pelchat may have failed to yield to a flashing yellow light as she turned left.

Unfortunately, this incident was not the only Fayetteville car accident to claim a life this week. On Monday, one man died and another got hurt in a North Carolina auto accident at the intersection of Interstate 295 and Ramsey Street.

Per the police’s preliminary investigation, 57-year-old Falcon resident Robert Brigman’s vehicle crossed the center line and was involved in a head-crash with a van driven by James Reeves. Brigman died at the North Carolina car crash site while Reeves, who sustained serious injuries, was flown to a hospital.

Fayetteville Car Accidents
Proving liability in any kind of North Carolina car accident can be tough—unless you have an experienced Fayetteville, North Carolian injury lawyer representing you. In many instances, no party will want to admit liability, which can prove very costly for the person who was injured because of the other party’s reckless, negligent, or careless acts.

A good Fayetteville, North Carolina injury law firm will know who to send to the crash site to gather evidence and can work with medical experts to prove your car accident case.

Woman dies after three-vehicle wreck on Raeford Road, Fayobserver.com, October 16, 2009

One killed, another injured in Fayetteville wreck, WRAL, October 13, 2009

Related Web Resources:
Auto Accident FAQs, Law Offices of Michael A Demayo

North Carolina Department of Transportation

Teens Taught that Texting While Driving Can Cause North Carolina Car Accidents

October 16, 2009, by Michael A. DeMayo

The North Carolina State Highway Patrol is conducting Operation Drive to Live. Part of this campaign includes the Texting While Driving Initiative, which is designed to teach students about the consequences of distracted driving—especially texting while driving. As part of the program, students are allowed to ride a golf cart through a course set up with traffic cones while they text message.

It takes 10 to 15 second to compose and send a text message. When you consider that a car moving at a speed of 60 mph travels over 80 feet each second, a texting teen driver may have traveled a 10th of a mile with his or her eyes off the road. Couple driver distraction with driver inexperience typical of most drivers who are just starting to drive and the chances of being involved in a North Carolina car accident increases dramatically.

While texting while driving is dangerous when done by anyone including adults, teens are especially at risk because they text so much even when they aren’t driving. According to the Nielsen Co,, US teens sent and received nearly 80 texts a day—that’s about 2,272 texts a month—during the 4th quarter of 2008. This bad habit is not only a distraction, but it may be causing sleep deprivation, exhaustion, and repetitive stress injuries. One doctor, pediatrician Martin Joffe, says that when he surveyed students at two high schools he discovered that a lot of them sent hundreds of texts daily. This breaks down to a text every few minutes.

When you consider how hard it is for adults to resist the impulse to read a text or check an email or compose a message while driving, imagine how much harder it is for teenagers to stop this bad habit.

Yet the evidence is now indisputable. Texting while driving is dangerous and causes catastrophic car crashes. Whether you are a 16-year-old driver or a 75-year-old driver, texting while driving is negligent driving.

Highway Patrol teaches the dangers of texting and driving, Apex Herald, October 8, 2009

Texting May Be Taking a Toll, New York Times, May 25, 2009

Related Web Resources:
North Carolina Department of Crime Control & Public Safety

Teenage Driving Tips, NCCrimecontrol.org

National Safety Commission

North Carolina Auto Products Liability?: Ford Recalls Another 4.5 Million Autos Over Defective Cruise Control Switch that Poses Fire Hazard

October 14, 2009, by Michael A. DeMayo

Ford Motor Co. says it is recalling another 4.5 million autos to its already lengthy list of autos that need to be brought back in because of a faulty cruise control switch that could start a fire. This latest recall, the automaker’s largest single recall ever, ups the total of vehicles the carmaker has recalled in the last 10 years because of these defective switches to about 16 million autos, says the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Texas Instruments made the switches.

Ford vehicles affected by this recent recall include:

• Ford Excursion diesels (2002 – 2003 models)
• Ford Econolines (1992 – 2003 models)
• Ford Windstars (1995 – 2003 models)
• Ford F-Super Duty diesels (1993-1997, 1999-2003 models)
• Mercury Mountaineers and Ford Explorers (1995 – 2002 models)
• Ford F53 motor homes (1994)
• Ford Rangers (1995 – 1997, 2001-2003 models)

The defective switches have resulted in numerous fires that have led to auto products liability lawsuits and hundreds of complaints. NHTSA investigators discovered that the switches are at risk of leaking internally, overheating, and catching fire. The NHTSA also said that there have been a number of instances involving leaking fluid damaging the antilock brake control module that is charged with electrical current.

Ford is no longer using the Texas Instruments-manufactured switches. This latest recall includes the last batch of autos in use that were made to include the switches. Meantime, Texas Instruments has said that its switches exceeded the specifications that Ford requested. Texas Instruments also noted that the switch is just one part of the cruise control deactivation system.

Fires caused by defective auto parts can result in catastrophic injuries for vehicle occupants and those around them. Burn injuries are very painful and can be costly to treat. An experienced North Carolina auto products liability law firm can help you obtain your financial recovery from an auto manufacturer and other liable parties.

CONSUMER ADVISORY: NHTSA Warns Consumers of Fire Hazards in Additional 4.5 Million Ford Vehicles, NHTSA, October 14, 2009

Ford recall hits 4.5 million vehicles, CNN Money, October 13, 2009

Related Web Resources:
Ford Cruise Control Switch Fires, Safety Forum

Ford Motor Company

Texas Instruments


NHTSA Reports Approximately 16,626 Motor Vehicle Deaths from January – June 2009

October 9, 2009, by Michael A. DeMayo

According to statistical projections provided by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration for January – June 2009, about 16,626 people died in US traffic crashes. This figure is a 7% decline compared to the first half of last year when there were 17,871 traffic deaths.

Meantime, the Federal Highway Administration is reporting that the number of vehicle miles traveled for this time period went down compared to last year by approximately 6.1 billion miles. The fatality rate for the first six months also went down from 1.23 fatalities per 100 million VMT in 2008 to 1.15 fatalities per 100 million VMT in 2009.

While any decline in the number of traffic deaths is always positive news, there are still many people who are dying or getting hurt in motor vehicle accidents.

At around 12:45 am on Monday, 22-year-old Claudia Gonzales sustained fatal injuries when driver Victor Manuel Pena lost control of the 1996 Mazda A3S they were riding. Charlotte-Mecklenburg police say the car went off the road, struck a power pole and crosswalk signal, and rolled over a number of times.

Gonzales, who was partially thrown from the vehicle during the Charlotte car accident, was trapped under the vehicle. She was pronounced dead while at Carolinas Medical Center.

Pena, who was treated for his injuries at the same hospital, faces felony death by vehicle and driving while intoxicated charges. This would not be the 25-year-old motorist’s first drunk driving offense.

In a few weeks, Pena is scheduled to be tried for DWI over an incident in Union County, North Carolina.

Last month, 18-year-old Logan Stroud died in a Kannapolis car accident when another vehicle struck his Chevy S10 pickup truck on the driver’s side. His truck rolled down an embankment close to the intersection of Kannapolis Parkway and Highway 73. Police are dealing with conflicting reports over who had the green light.

Throughout South Carolina and North Carolina, our Charlotte car accident lawyers represent injury victims and their families.

Police: Witness drove away from fatal wreck, WCNC, September 25, 2009

DWI suspect faces similar charge in Union, Charlotte Observer, October 6, 2009

Early Estimate of Motor Vehicle Traffic Fatalities for the First Half of 2009, NHTSA, October 2009 (PDF)

Related Web Resources:
Federal Highway Administration

North Carolina Department of Transportation