March 2011

20-Year-Old Motorist Accused of Causing Deadly North Carolina Wrong-Way Driving Accident is Charged with Underage Drinking While Driving

March 31, 2011, by Michael A. DeMayo

Police have charged Ian Michael Smith in the North Carolina car accident that killed two people on Friday with Driving After Consuming Alcohol while under the age of 21and Driving While Impaired. Other criminal charges are likely. The names of the two people that died are Marcial Aragon Colmillo and Juan Carlos Cortes.

According to Greensboro Police, a little after 2am, a police officer saw a Mitsubishi Eclipse driving the wrong way up a road. The cop tried to stop the vehicle, which was driven by Smith, but it sped away. The police officer later spotted the car at a North Carolina traffic crash site where it had been involved in a collision with a 1995 Chevrolet truck that was carrying the two victims and another person.

Drunk Driving
Our Charlotte, North Carolina car crash lawyers work hard every year to not only represent the victims of drunk driving accidents with civil claims, but also, we do our best to educate young people about the dangers of driving drunk with our Michael A. DeMayo Scholarship Program. Each year, we award college scholarships to a group of high school seniors based on their grades, community and school involvement, SAT results, and original presentation geared towards encouraging other teens to not drive while under the influence.

That said, too much alcohol will impair any driver regardless of age, and this can lead to catastrophic consequences for those unfortunate enough to be on the road with at the same time. If you or someone you love was injured in a North Carolina car accident and you believe that person was drunk, you should start exploring your legal options with an experienced Monroe, North Carolina traffic crash law firm right away.

Update: Driver Charged In Wrong-Way Crash, Digtriad, March 25, 2011

20-year-old man faces driving while impaired charges in crash that left 2 dead in Greensboro, The Republic, March 27, 2011

Related Web Resources:
Michael A. DeMayo Scholarship Program

Alcohol and Driving, North Carolina Department of Transportation

More Blog Posts:
Fatal Catawba, North Carolina County Car Accident Caused by Allegedly Drunk Driver, North Carolina Car Accident Lawyer Blog, February 9, 2011

Charlotte North Carolina Car Accident Law Firm Invites Local High School Students to Join the Fight Against Underage Drunk Driving and Possibly Win a College Scholarship, North Carolina Car Accident Lawyer Blog, January 13, 2011

North Carolina Car Crash Involving Alleged Drunk Driver Kills 24-year-Old Chester Woman, North Carolina Car Accident Lawyer Blog, December 28, 2010


16-Year-Old Driver Involved in Fatal North Carolina Car Accident is Charged with Texting While Driving

March 30, 2011, by Michael A. DeMayo

A trip to watch the Carolina basketball game on Sunday turned deadly when a car carrying Seth Hayden Beaver, 17, was involved in a North Carolina car accident. Police are investigating the deadly crash.

Police say that Taylor Clark, 16, who was driving of the car that Seth was a passenger in, has been charged with texting while driving, failing to yield, and misdemeanor of death by a motor vehicle. However, distracted driving isn’t the only possible cause of this North Carolina traffic crash. People are also saying that the intersection where it happened, on Old 87 and Fertilizer Plant Road, is confusing and that there is no warning sign to let you know when a vehicle is coming from the opposite direction.

Unfortunately, it is not a rare occurrence for a North Carolina traffic collision to happen because a road was poorly designed or lacked the proper signage or traffic lights. When car crashes happen because of “road defects,” victims may have grounds to pursue a case against the government entity in charge of that road.

Texting While Driving
Another problem that in recent years has been the unnecessary cause of too many injuries and deaths on the road is text messaging while driving. As our Charlotte, North Carolina car accident lawyers have mentioned in past posts, texting while driving, which is illegal in this state, is a form of distracted driving and it increases the chances that the motorist will become involved in a traffic crash. Couple texting while driving with driver inexperience (teenagers belong to one of the age groups most likely to text a lot) and you’ve got a deadly combination. That said, texting while driving is dangerous for a driver to engage in at any age. In addition to the deadly consequences that can result, it can also lead to criminal charges for the motorist. He/she may also end up the defendant of a North Carolina car crash lawsuit seeking personal injury or wrongful death damages.

Teen driver involved in fatal accident charged for texting while driving, WECT News, March 30, 2011

Related Web Resources:
Distracted Driving

Teens, driving and texting are a bad mix, Los Angeles Times

More Blog Posts:
Texting while Driving Increases North Carolina Car Crash Risk by Six Times, North Carolina Car Accident Lawyer Blog, January 5, 2011

North Carolina Bill Banning Text Messaging While Driving Now Goes to Senate, North Carolina Injury lawyer Blog, April 18, 2009


Lawmakers Deliberate Whether to Step Up the Fight Against North Carolina Distracted Driving Crashes with a Ban on Handheld Cell Devices

March 26, 2011, by Michael A. DeMayo

State lawmakers have been debating whether to only allow the use of hands-free cell phones while driving. The government leaders are trying to decide whether enforcement and safety is more important than personal freedoms. The chief bill calling for this ban is Rep. Garland Pierce of Scotland County. Hopefully, if the measure passes, the prohibition would save some more lives while decreasing the number of North Carolina car crashes that occur each year.

Currently, there is a statewide ban on texting while driving. While school bus drivers and drivers under the age 18 are not allowed to talk on a cell phone at all, other adult drivers can use any type of cell phone while driving.

Our Charlotte, North Carolina car accident lawyers are familiar with the catastrophic results that can occur on the road because someone was distracted while driving.
Although word is now getting out that distracted driving is dangerous enough to kill people on the road, many people still are unable to resist the urge to talk on the phone, text, surf the Internet, or email while driving.

Cell Phone Use and Brain Distraction
The National Safety Council put out a white paper today on how cell phone use distracts the brain when the user is driving a car. It doesn’t matter whether a driver is using a handheld or a hands-free device. Either way, the brain has to multitask, which makes it harder for the motorist to drive safely.

The NSC says that not only does talking on the phone while driving impair a motorist’s performance, but also, it makes it harder for the brain to pick up on cues. For example, a driver talking on the phone may experience a type of “inattention blindness” that might cause him/her “look at” but not “see” nearly 50% of the information in their environment, including signs of possible hazards.

Also, in addition to having one’s attention focused on the conversation rather than on the road, use of a handheld phone while driving keeps one of the driver’s hands occupied, which can make it harder for him/her to use both hands in the event of an emergency requiring the motorist to use both hands.

More cell phone limits in car debated by NC House, Business Week, March 24, 2011

The National Safety Council Releases White Paper on Brain Distraction During Cell Phone Use While Driving, National Safety Council, March 26, 2010

Related Web Resources:
Cell Phone Laws, Insurance Institute for Highway Safety

The National Safety Council’s Distracted Driving White Paper (PDF)

More Blog Posts:
The Fight Against Distracted Driving: GHSA Seeks Total Ban On Cell Phone Use, North Carolina Car Accident Lawyer Blog, September 25, 2011

Distracted Driving?: Unfinished Text Found in Vehicle Involved in North Carolina Car Accident that Injured Two Pedestrians, North Carolina Car Accident Lawyer Blog, June 4, 2010


One Dead, Eight Hurt in Charlotte, North Carolina Multi-Auto Crash on I-277

March 21, 2011, by Michael A. DeMayo

What should have been a case of police officers inspecting a disabled Chevrolet Impala on I-277 turned into a tragic, Charlotte, North Carolina multi-vehicle collision that killed one man and sent eight people to the hospital. The traffic crash is under investigation.

Per the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department, a police officer arrived on the outer loop of I-277 to check on the disabled vehicle, which was parked on the left shoulder. Officer Jeff Templeton had already gotten out of his vehicle when it was rear ended by a Toyota Camry carrying William “Bill” Sweezer, his wife, and two sons. Another CMPD Officer, Chris Kunz, stopped at the scene to help. He was off-duty at the time. Minutes after, a Toyota 4Runner crashed into the Camry and struck Sweezer, who was standing on the roadway, and the two cops.

Sweezer died of his North Carolina car crash injuries. The two police officers, the three people in the Camry, and the three people in the Chevy were taken to the hospital for treatment of their injuries.

Meantime, Delvin Joel Marin Contreras, who was driving the 4-Runner, was arrested and charged with No Operator’s License and Misdemeanor Death by Motor Vehicle. He may be illegally in the US.

If someone you love was injured or killed in a Charlotte, North Carolina car accident, it is important that you contact an experienced personal injury law firm that can start gathering evidence, dealing with the other parties, and get the legal ball rolling to help you file a successful claim. Proving liability can be challenging—especially when there are multiple vehicles involved. Accident reconstruction experts may have to be called in, in addition to other professionals who can work with the legal time that is building your case.

‘We need to embrace our family and friends’, The Observer, March 18, 2011

1 killed, two police officers hurt in I-277 multi-vehicle crash, WBTV, March 15, 2010

Related Web Resources:
North Carolina Department of Transportation
Insurance Institute for Highway Safety

Charlotte, North Carolina Tractor-Trailer Accident Kills 2, Injures 3

March 16, 2011, by Michael A. DeMayo

A North Carolina truck crash involving a tractor-trailer and a pickup truck has killed two people and sent three others to the hospital with serious injuries. Police are investigating the Charlotte, North Carolina semi-truck crash that took place at the Interstate 85/485 interchange on Monday. One witness says that the pickup drove under the large truck, which was parked on the side of the road.

As our Charlotte, North Carolina truck accident lawyers reported last week, the occupants of a vehicle that ends up underneath a tractor-trailer can end up with catastrophic—likely fatal injuries. In some cases, the person responsible for the crash was the driver of the passenger vehicle. In other instances, the party should be held liable are the truck driver, the trucking company, and/or the truck manufacturer.

You won’t know for sure whether you have grounds for an injury case unless you explore your legal options and work with an experienced Charlotte, North Carolina motor vehicle crash law firm that knows how to investigate your case.

North Carolina is a state where contributory negligence comes into play. This means that if a person even minutely contributed to his/her own injuries, then he/she is not entitled to compensation. That said, situations are not always what they seem. What may appear to be a case of driver negligence may, in fact, have been a result of an auto defect or a road defect or another cause that was entirely out of a motorist’s fault.

In South Carolina, where the Law Offices of Michael A. DeMayo also represents clients, damages are assessed based on comparative negligence. A victim can recover if he/she is determined to be 50%/less at fault. Anything greater and the victim cannot recover.

It is important that you talk to an experienced Charlotte, North Carolina truck crash law firm today.

Pickup slams into tractor-trailer, killing 2, Charlotte Observer, March 15, 2011

2 killed, 3 injured in wreck at Interstate 85/485 interchange near Charlotte; traffic backs up, MyFox8, March 14, 2011

Preventing North Carolina Truck Crashes: IIHS Says Standards to Prevent Underride Crashes Aren’t Working, North Carolina Car Accident Lawyer Blog, March 7, 2011

Related Web Resources:
Large Truck Causation Study, FMCSA

Truck Accidents, Justia

Preventing North Carolina Truck Crashes: IIHS Says Standards to Prevent Underride Crashes Aren’t Working

March 7, 2011, by Michael A. DeMayo

Our Charlotte, North Carolina truck crash law firm works with families where a loved has been seriously injured in a traffic accident with a large truck. As the media reported last year, North Carolina ranked number six in the nation because of the number of tractor-trailer crashes that occur in the state. Now, there is more news for concern.

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the rear impact guards attached to the back of big rigs that are supposed to prevent cars that crash into the back of a large truck from sliding underneath it aren’t working too well. The IIHS announced its findings after conducting its own tests. In one test, a 2010 Chevy Malibu moving at 35 miles per hour slid right under the trailer as its rear impact guards gave way during the rear-end collision. If the vehicle had been carrying people rather than dummies, everyone likely would have died.

IIHS President Adrian Lund says it is clear that the standards need to be strengthened. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says that it is aware of the seriousness of the truck underride issue, which it is studying right now.

Truck underride crashes kill about 423 people a year. Over 5,000 auto occupants are injured. One reason that these collisions happen is that most cars are lower to the ground while trailers are usually higher. This makes it easy for a car to get under the trailer and often, it is the smaller vehicle’s windshield and roof pillars that get the full force of impact.

Lund notes that even if a car has earned the best scores in frontal crash tests, if the truck’s under-ride guard doesn’t do its job, the consequences for vehicle occupants can be deadly. Decapitation is also likely. The IIHS is petitioning the federal government to mandate that trucks be outfitted with tougher underride guards that will stay in place during a collision.

Stronger barriers urged to stop beheadings in rear-end crashes, USA Today, March 2, 2011

Truck Underride Accidents: Drivers Endangered When Cars Slide Under Trailers, ABC News, March 1, 2011

Underride guards on big rigs often fail in crashes; Institute petitions government for new standard, Insurance Institute for Highway Safety

Related Web Resources:


More Blog Posts:
North Carolina Tractor-Trailer Crash Kills Sparta Man, North Carolina Car Accident Lawyer Blog, February 4, 2011

FMCSA’s Proposed Changes to Hours-of-Service Rules for Commercial Truckers Will Hopefully Decrease The Number of US Truck Accidents, North Carolina Car Accident Lawyer Blog, January 19, 2011