October 2010

Asheville, North Carolina Tractor-Trailer Accident Involving Nine Vehicles on I-26 Claims Fifth Fatality

October 29, 2010, by Michael A. DeMayo

Police are reporting that a fifth victim has died from injuries that were sustained in an North Carolina tractor-trailer crash in Asheville that occurred Sunday night. The woman, 26-year-old Amber Reid from Hendersonville, died on Tuesday.

Reid was riding in a car driven by her husband Chris Reid, who was also injured, when their vehicle was struck by a tractor-trailer during a chain reaction crash involving seven cars and a second tractor-trailer that were stopped in the eastbound lanes because of another accident.

Also killed from injuries they sustained during the North Carolina multi-vehicle crash are Hendersonville resident Charles Novac, Asheville resident Theresa Saver, and Lexington, South Carolina residents Alvin and Gail Kimbell. Another person, Laci Fredericks, sustained injuries.

Police arrested Roumen Todorov Velkov, the truck driver accused of starting the multi-vehicle crash. They have charged him with four counts of involuntary manslaughter and one count of assault inflicting serious bodily harm. With Amber Reid’s death, the charges will likely be amended.

The North Carolina Highway Patrol is trying to determine whether driver inattention or fatigue was a factor. Investigation findings reveal that the tractor-trailer Velkov was driving was moving at a speed of about 70 mph when he struck the other vehicles. Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration records show that since June 2008, Globe Carrier Co., the trucking company that Velkov works for, has violated logbook requirements seven times.

Driver inattention, driver fatigue, and distracted driving are three of the most common causes of truck crashes. According to the Institute for Highway Safety, a truck driver that has been driving a truck for more than 8 hours in a row increases his/her truck crash risk by twofold.

Driver Inattention May Have Caused I-26 Pileup, WYFF4.com, October 26, 2010

Recent history of company involved in Asheville area I-26 crash shows numerous violations, Citizen-Times, October 27, 2010

Related Web Resource:
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

Driver Accused of Causing Monroe, North Carolina Car Crash Had 6 DWIs

October 26, 2010, by Michael A. DeMayo

A Monroe, North Carolina motor vehicle crash on Sunday has claimed the life of one man. Daniel Herring, a 41-year-old father of three, was driving home from a church event today when he was involved in a head-on collision with a Dodge pickup truck.

The driver of the pickup, Kevin Ohagan, was allegedly drunk at the time of the Monroe car accident. The 29-year-old had just fled a traffic stop when he hit Herring’s vehicle. Police were pursuing him at the time. He is now charged with second-degree murder, speeding to elude arrest, felony death by motor vehicle, and driving with a revoked license.

He and his female passenger were found unconscious in their vehicle at the accident site. The two of them were not using seat belts.

Monroe police say that prior to Sunday’s crash, Ohagan had been arrested almost 20 times as an adult. He already has six DWI convictions. Other convictions include those for trespassing, communicating threats, breaking and entering, larceny, stalking, assault on a female, and false imprisonment. He has yet to go to trial for an unrelated case involving the criminal charge of felony child abuse causing serious bodily injury.

Drunk Driving is Negligent Driving
Our Monroe injury law firm wants to remind you to explore your legal options right away after you or your love done has been involved in a traffic crash. Drunk driving is a form of careless driving. People know that driving while intoxicated can kill or hurt other people yet many continue to operate a motor vehicle while under the influence. Drunk driving, speeding, reckless driving, aggressive driving, failure to obey traffic signs, talking on the cell phone or texting while driving, and drugged driving are just some of the many reasons why North Carolina car crashes happen. There may be a way to hold the negligent party liable.

Suspect in fatal wreck had 6 DWIs, Charlotte Observer, October 25, 2010

Suspect In Fatal Crash Charged With 2nd-Degree Murder, DWI, WSOCTV, October 24, 2010

Related Web Resources:
North Carolina Department of Transportation

North Carolina DOT Division of Motor Vehicles

Prevent North Carolina 15-Passenger Van Crashes by Not Overloading Vehicle

October 22, 2010, by Michael A. DeMayo

Once again, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is cautioning the owners and drivers of 15-passsenger vans to exercise the necessary safety precautions to keep vehicle occupants safe. The warning comes in the wake of two recent 15-passenger van accidents in the US. that killed 10 people. Both accidents involved tire blowouts. In the collision that took place in Georgia, the 1987 Dodge Ram Wagon church van was carrying 19 passengers.

According to NHTSA research, when there are 10 or more people in a 15-passenger van, the vehicle rollover risk goes up. This means that even when the van is carrying the amount of people it is designed to transport, it can pose a safety risk to its occupants and others.

The higher rollover risk occurs because the heavier the passengers’ combined weight, the more likely the van’s gravity center is to rise and shift rearward, which makes the vehicle harder to control during an emergency situation. Loading the roof of a 15-passenger van with cargo can also raise the vehicle’s gravity center. Unfortunately, many 15-passenger vans—especially the older ones—are not designed with the proper structural integrity, crash padding, and emergency exits to protect passengers during a rollover accident.

Our Charlotte, North Carolina 15-passenger van accident lawyers are familiar with the challenges that come with proving that the van manufacturer, operator, or another party was negligent in causing your injury accident. This is one of the many reasons to begin exploring your legal options as soon as possible.

Meantime, NHTSA is urging people to make sure that their vehicles are properly maintained and equipped with tires that are the right size. It also is recommending that 15-passenger van owners not use spare tires, as well as tires that are more than 10 years old, as permanent replacement tires.

Other NHTSA Safety Tips for What to Do When Driving a 15-Passenger Van:
• Drivers must be fully trained and experienced in operating this type of van.
• Do not overload the van with cargo or passengers.
• Before a trip, ensure that the van’s tires are properly inflated.
• Make sure that everyone is wearing a seat belt.

Church Van Crash Victims Named and Remembered, WRBL News, October 22, 2010

Consumer Advisory: NHTSA Reissues 15-Passenger Van Safety Caution, NHTSA, October 14, 2010

Reducing the Risk of Rollover Crashes in 15-Passenger Vans, SaferCar.gov

Related Web Resources:
Q&As: 15-passenger vans, Insurance Institute for Highway Safety

15-Passenger Vans Safety Alert, NTSB (PDF)

North Carolina Truck Crash Involving Unhitched Trailer Claims Life of Teacher

October 19, 2010, by Michael A. DeMayo

A second grade teacher was killed in a Pitt County motor vehicle crash last week when her car was struck by a trailer that became detached from a truck. Lisa Langemann, a Bethel School second grade teacher, sustained her fatal on October 12. Her two daughters, ages 8 and 1 month, survived the North Carolina truck accident.

State troopers have charged truck driver John Ross with death by motor vehicle. His trailer hitch reportedly lacked key safety components.

Under North Carolina law, the vehicle that’s towing needs to be able to control what is being towed. The first requirement for towing is that there is a safety pin to lock the trailer hitch to the rear of the motor vehicle that will be towing it. The second requirement is that safety chains be used. The troopers say that the truck that Ross was driving lacked the appropriate safety chains.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 15,211 people died in traffic crashes involving passenger vehicles towing trailers between 1975 and 2008. A USA Today article published earlier this year reported that more than one person a day dies in motor vehicle collisions that occurred because an improperly secured trailer had broken loose and collided with traffic.

Charges filed in accident that killed 2nd grade teacher, WNCT, October 13, 2010

State laws target safety of towed trailers, USA Today, July 5, 2010

Related Web Resources:

North Carolina Department of Transportation

Lenoir Truck Accident in Caldwell County Injures Three People

October 8, 2010, by Michael A. DeMayo

A Lenoir traffic accident between a dump truck and a pickup truck has sent three people to the hospital. State police say that the Caldwell County, North Carolina truck accident happened on Thursday afternoon when the driver of a pickup truck drove over the center line of Cheraw Road and crashed into the dump truck head-on. The dump truck driver reportedly tried to but failed to avoid becoming involved in the Lenoir truck collision.

Emergency personnel had to cut off the pickup truck’s doors to rescue the three people inside. Two of the North Carolina traffic crash victims, the 19-year-old driver and a 17-year-old passenger, were flown to the hospital. A 16-year-old passenger was also transported to the hospital. The trucker wasn’t injured. The teen driver may be charged with allegedly causing the collision.

The cause of the crash is unclear. Troopers believe that the heaviness of the dump truck was a contributing factor in terms of the impact of collision being so strong.

Dump Truck Accident
Colliding with a dump truck can be a brutal experience for those involved. These large trucks are so big and heavy that they can cause serious damage during impact. Serious injuries and deaths can occur.

Dump truck drivers must exercise caution at all times to avoid becoming involved in a truck crash. That said, truck accidents can also occur as a result of the other motorist’s careless or reckless mistakes or other reasons not related to the truck driver or the trucking company.

3 Injured In Crash Involving Dump Truck, WSOCTV, October 8, 2010

Three Teens Hurt, Two Airlifted from Caldwell Wreck, GoBlueRidge, October 8, 2010

Related Web Resources:
Teen Drivers, Motor Vehicle Safety, CDC

Car Accidents, Justia