Auto Accident in North Carolina – Firefighter Swiped by Car

March 19, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

An auto accident in North Carolina on Highway 52 (in King, NC) shook up the King Fire Department and sent Lieutenant Les Collins to Wake Forest Baptist Hospital with significant injuries. According to news reports, 59-year-old William Blythe drove into a coned off area and smashed into a fire department car before hitting the volunteer firefighter. The impact was so hard that it threw Collins 100 feet. Amazingly, he was not killed by the impact – news reports said he was listed at stable condition at the hospital.

Blythe was arrested and charged with reckless and careless driving. Interestingly, Blythe was only travelling at 30 miles per hour when he hit the firefighter. Thirty miles per hour may not seem like a lot. But it was clearly enough force to send the man flying 100 feet – a third the length of a football field.

Can we learn any lessons from this scary accident?

Lesson #1: Drivers can EASILY get confused and behave recklessly or carelessly. Even though the firefighters put up traffic cones and engaged other precautions “by the book,” the risk preparation was not enough to protect them from Blythe’s erratic driving.

As this blog explored in a series of posts on “caveman driving,” the reality is that human beings did not evolve to travel at speeds of 30 miles per hour and above. Back in our hunter-gatherer days, maybe we reached 20 miles per hour during a dead sprint chasing after game. But we certainly did not command vehicles weighing several tons; and we did not drive those vehicles at speeds of 30, 40, 50, and 80 miles per hour.

Our society does a pretty good job inculturating drivers – teaching them the rules of the road, getting them to behave safely, etc. – but these rules can break down in an untold number of ways. The consequences can be tragic – physical injuries, emotional trauma, and long-term financial/logistical hassles often result. From a certain perspective, it’s kind of amazing that we can drive the way we drive. We’ve engineered our roads and cars exquisitely well to protect ourselves from our own evolutionarily wired failings.

That said, when the system breaks down, injured victims need help. If you or someone you care about was recently hurt in a North Carolina truck, car, or bicycle accident, you may benefit significantly from talking with an auto accident law firm in North Carolina.

More Web Resources:

Triad firefighter hit by car at accident scene

Putting car speeds into context