Tragedy Strikes: Fatal North Carolina Car Accident Takes Life of 21-year-old Sheriff’s Deputy

August 11, 2011, by Michael A. DeMayo

The sleepy community of Snow Hill, NC was shocked by a tragic and shocking North Carolina car accident, which took the life of 21-year-old David Jennings Dawson, a newly minted sheriff’s deputy who had only been serving the department for two months before the disaster. According to, “Dawson’s vehicle veered off the road before crossing back over the highway and hitting a fence, tree, and utility box…investigators are working to gather more details about the accident.”

According to WNCT, Dawson had just graduated from Lenoir Community College and he had committed his life to service. His mother said that “he would do anything for anyone and that he was a good Christian boy.” A neighbor who lived across from the scene of the accident – Evelyn Turnage – told WNCT that she heard a loud explosion and ran outside: “I took off running out the door to see what happened, due to the noise I heard, and I saw over here that a car was on fire so I ran over to see what had happened. He was lying in the ground and I knew something…he was either majorly injured or dead.”

In tragic situations like this — whether they happen to a police officer, a civilian driver, or someone driving in extraordinary circumstances — reconstructing precisely what went wrong may be more difficult than victims of family members realize. For instance, just looking at the superficial analysis of the evidence in the Eyewitness News9 report, one could devise many theories about what happened to the patrol car. Perhaps Deputy Dawson was driving too fast. Perhaps his car had a mechanical problem. Perhaps he had swerved to avoid an animal or another car that had been speeding by. It’s really impossible to tell without a deep and thorough investigation of evidence from the crash scene. And this is why North Carolina car accident victims (and family members) in general should try to collect as much information as possible from the scene (“over collect”) and consult resources like a North Carolina auto accident law firm.

Better evidence, information, and resources won’t guarantee that you will win a judgment in a lawsuit (or collect settlement from an insurance company), but it can give you the leverage to explore various alternatives. And even more than that, it can help you regain some semblance of control over your life that the accident suddenly took away. For family members, it’s the “not knowing” that’s the worst — not knowing what went wrong, what comes next, and what can you do. One way of approaching the situation is to first spend some time getting acclimated to the new reality and then get in touch with resources (like a great NC accident law firm) that can help you move forward.

More Web Resources:

Snow Hill, NC

David Jennings Dawson tragedy


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