July 31, 2010

Laura Fortenberry's Death Should Lead Lawmakers To Change North Carolina Law

Laura Fortenberry.jpgThe recent death of a Gaston County teenager, Laura Fortenberry, age 17, should lead North Carolina lawmakers to change the current law regarding how long a convicted drunk driver must wear an ankle alcohol monitoring bracelet.

Last Sunday night, on the Dallas-Cherryville Highway around 9 p.m., a habitual drunk driver, Howard Pasour, 28, of Bessemer City, tried passing several vehicles on the two lane road. While making the passing maneuver, the drunk driver crashed head-on into the vehicle in which Ms. Fortenberry was riding as a passenger. Ms. Fortenberry was killed in the crash.

The drunk driver has three previous convictions for drunk driving. His last conviction for DWI was last year in 2009. When he got his driver's license back this time in November, 2009, a judge ordered that he wear a continuous alcohol monitoring bracelet so that authorities could keep track of his whereabouts and make sure that he was not driving drunk. So where was the monitoring bracelet?

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July 26, 2010

Truck Strikes Motorcycle Near Rockingham, North Carolina on US 220

motorcycle crash near rockingham.jpgOn Saturday afternoon, a pick-up truck driver failed to see an oncoming motorcycle before making a left hand turn and caused a severe collision. The pick-up truck driver, Doris Collins, 70, of Nicole Lane, in Rockingham, North Carolina was headed southbound on U.S. Highway 220 in Richmond County just before the crash.

A motorcycle driven by Doug Franklin, 35, of Greenfield Road, in Hamlet, North Carolina was headed northbound on U.S. 220. Also on the motorcycle was a young juvenile passenger.


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The northbound motorcycle had the right of way, but the southbound truck crossed into the oncoming lane and struck the motorcycle.

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July 21, 2010

Winston-Salem Jury Awards $6 Million Against Sports Bar & Drunk Driver

tanker explosion.jpgA wrongful death claim brought by a Forsyth County, North Carolina widow on behalf of her deceased husband recently resulted in a $6,000,000 jury verdict. The case is Roadway Express and Constance Sue Horn, Individually and as Administratrix of the Estate of Mark Joseph Horn v. Mickey Joe Hayes and The Inzone, Inc.

In the early morning hours of March 7, 2004, Mark Horn drove his Roadway Express tractor trailer northbound on US Highway 52. At the same time, defendant Mickey Hayes, who had been drinking at The Inzone sports bar for several hours prior to entering the highway, was racing another vehicle headed northbound on US Highway 52. Witnesses reported observing the racing cars traveling at speeds over 100 miles per hour. As defendant Hayes came up behind Mr. Horn's tractor trailer, he attempted to pass him in the emergency lane on the right hand side of the highway.

As defendant Hayes got along side of the tractor trailer, both vehicles were approaching a bridge, and defendant Hayes veered in front and cut the tractor trailer off at the last minute. Mr. Horn swerved and crashed through the bridge, and his tractor trailer exploded and burst into flames as it impacted the roadway below the bridge. Mr. Horn died in the crash.

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July 10, 2010

Four Witnesses Watched Trucker Hit Cary Motorcyclist on I-85

Cary Motorcyclist.jpgThe North Carolina State Highway Patrol reported that four (4) separate witnesses called them about the horrendous crash caused by tractor-trailer driver Michael Gray Rigsbee, 38, of Creedmore. Rigsbee struck a motorcycle ridden by Sean Christopher Newman, 38, of Cary near mile marker 220 in Henderson, North Carolina. The collision sent Newman into the median. Newman was thrown from his motorcycle, and authorities say he was killed instantly.

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July 9, 2010

Cary, NC Motorcyclist Killed By Hit & Run Tractor-Trailer Driver

Cary Motorcyclist Killed by Hit & Run TT.jpgThursday evening, around 7 pm on I-85 southbound near Henderson, NC, a tractor-trailer driven by Michael Gray Rigsbee, 38, struck a motorcyclist. The impact near mile marker 220 caused Sean Christopher Newman, of Cary, to lose control of his motorcycle and crash into the median. The severe impact instantly and tragically killed Newman. Unbelievably, the truck driver did not stop after the collision.

North Carolina State Highway Patrol Troopers caught up with the criminal truck driver approximately 20 miles further down the interstate. State Troopers charged the truck driver with 2nd degree murder, careless and reckless driving, and felony hit & run. The truck driver is currently behind bars in the Vance County Jail under a $120,000 bond. Let's hope he stays there.

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July 8, 2010

Defective Bicycle Sold In North Carolina Recalled By CPSC

bike - defective.jpgAs parents and students begin preparing for the coming school year, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) announced a voluntary recall for a single speed bicycle sold by Campus Cruisers LLC of Boulder, Colorado.

Although the bicycle is popular among high school and college students, the CPSC has received several reports of crashes caused by the bicycle's front fork cracking and breaking. This type of front fork failure is extremely dangerous because such a break generally causes the rider to go head first onto the ground or pavement. Serious head and neck injuries can result from this type of crash. The bicycle was sold to independent bicycle dealers in North Carolina and in other states from March 2010 through May 2010. The cost of the bicycle was approximately $450. The bicycle was manufactured by a company in China.

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July 4, 2010

Motor Vehicle Crashes Are Top Teen Killer In North Carolina

teen driver.jpgThe leading cause of death for teenagers, ages 16 to 19, in North Carolina is motor vehicle crashes. This unpleasant statistic applies across the U.S. as well. In 2008, 9 teenagers died every day from injuries in car wrecks. More teens are killed in car crashes than in any other way. Thus far, almost all states have taken some action to try and reduce teen crashes. But the restrictions vary greatly from state to state.

In North Carolina, the state legislature implemented a graduated driver's licensing (GDL) law that restricts teenagers' right to drive. The law places more restrictions on younger drivers and eases those restrictions as the driver increases in age.

A recent study analyzing the hospitalization rates for teen drivers in North Carolina shows that the GDL system is working. Since the GDL program went into effect, the hospitalization rate for teenagers between 16 and 19 years of age has decreased. The study concluded that the decrease was due to reduced exposure to dangerous situations (e.g. several teenagers in a single vehicle) than to improved driving skills.

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June 27, 2010

"Do As I Say & Not As I Do" - Adults Are Texting & Driving Too

texting while driving adult.jpgA new national study by the Pew Research Center finds that adults are just as likely to have sent text messages while driving as teenagers, and adults are much more likely to have talked on their cell phone while driving when compared to teenagers.

While much attention has recently been focused on teen texting while driving due to several fatal crashes, it appears that adults are just as deserving of similar attention and education. The study's statistics are startling, and it makes this author think that we adults need to look in the mirror before we are so quick to judge our teenagers.

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June 26, 2010

Two Critically Injured In Claremont Motorcycle Crash

motorcycle crash near Claremont.jpgOn Thursday morning around 9:50 a.m., a motorcycle driven by Bruce Offenbacker, age 24, rocketed down NC Highway 10 at over 100 mph. On the back of the motorcycle was Offenbacker's 20 year old girlfriend, Jasmine Shope of Newton.

As the motorcycle approached the intersection of Bethany Church Road, Isaiah Edgell, 44, was stopped in his 1989 Mazda pickup truck facing west on NC Highway 10, waiting to make a left hand turn into the Country Market. Iredell County Trooper C.M. Trouille just happened to be sitting in his marked State Highway Patrol vehicle behind the stopped pickup truck. When the pickup truck began to make its left hand turn, the motorcycle collided with the passenger side of the pickup truck at a high speed and with substantial force. Trooper Truoille stated he never even saw the motorcycle before impact. This crash was orignally covered by the Hickory Daily Record. The following video is a good example of how this crash happened:

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June 12, 2010

Stopping Asheville Teens From Texting While Driving

texting-while-driving cartoon.jpgMost adults recognize the dangers associated with texting while driving, but many teens do not appear to appreciate how serious a danger it can be. The facts about distracted driving are startling:

1. Using a cell phone while driving decreases the amount of brain activity connected with driving by 37% (source: Carnegie Mellon);

2. More than 6,000 people were killed by distracted drivers in car accidents in 2008, and more than 500,000 people were seriously injured (source: NHTSA);

3. Drivers under 20 years of age are responsible for the vast majority of distraction related fatal collisions;

4. Texting drivers are five times more likely to cause a car accident serious enough to put themselves in the emergency room (source: Insurance Institute For Highway Safety); and

5. Using a cell phone while driving decreases a driver's reaction time to the same degree as having a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08% - the legal limit in North Carolina (source: University of Utah).

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June 3, 2010

Reckless Truck Driver Kills North Carolina DOT Worker On I-40

DOT Worker KilledI-40 Truck 1 6-2-10.jpgA distracted tractor-trailer driver ran-over and killed a North Carolina Department Of Transportation (NC DOT) worker on Tuesday morning. The crash occurred as several NC DOT workers were beginning to place Work Zone signs and cones in preparation for a lane closure on I-40 West in Duplin County. North Carolina DOT was closing the lane so that workers could perform maintenance on a bridge at the intersection of NC Highway 24 and I-40 West. This is a rural area where Interstate 40 is straight and level, and the line of sight for approaching drivers is at least one-half (1/2) mile. Click here for 27 photos taken at the scene.

ABC News Channel 11 (WBTV) out of Raleigh dispatched a helicopter and crew to the scene and obtained areal footage of the crash site:

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May 21, 2010

Teen Texting Responsible For Increase in North Carolina Crashes

With the recent death of an Asheville teen caused by texting while driving, more attention is being focused on this extremely dangerous activity. Thus far, 25 states have passed laws banning texting while driving. In North Carolina, the ban went into effect on January 1, 2010, and the penalty if you get caught texting while driving is $100.00. So far, few North Carolina citizens have been caught breaking the new law, but, as anyone who is on the road knows, the illegal activity is rampant on our roads and highways.

Given the difficulty of enforcing the new law, the North Carolina Highway Patrol has taken a new strategy aimed at educating teen drivers when they are first learning to drive. The Highway Patrol is encouraging teen drivers to text while driving a golf cart around a parking lot full of orange cones. The results are eye opening for the teen drivers as they run over multiple cones while trying to navigate sharp turns and stop at stop signs. The golf cart experience is gaining popularity across the state and the nation. Each student in Lenoir and Duplin County will get behind the wheel of the golf cart before the end of the school year.

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May 18, 2010

I-40 Tractor-Trailer Accident: Truck Runs Over Car

Statesville Truck Wreck.JPGA serious crash closed Interstate 40 for over an hour Monday evening when a westbound Lincoln Town Car crossed the median and went under the rear wheels of an eastbound tractor-trailer. The collision happened just east of the Radio Road bridge that crosses I-40 near Mile Marker 150. Emergency workers and the North Carolina Highway Patrol shut down all 4 lanes of Interstate 40 while they attempted to rescue the occupants of the car.

Statesville Truck - SHP Qns.JPGTrooper Marty Liles of the State Highway Patrol (SHP) investigated the crash and reported that the car, driven by Rashad Whitner, 32 of Hickory, originally went off of the right side of the westbound lanes, re-entered and crossed the westbound lanes, entered the median and went under the median cables, and then entered the eastbound lanes at which time the car went under the rear of the tractor-trailer and was run over by the trailer's rear axles.

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May 15, 2010

Teen Texting While Driving Caused Deadly Asheville Accident

text messaging.jpgOn Friday, Asheville Police disclosed that they had accessed the information stored in Ashley Johnson's cellphone. Police investigators who examined the Arden teenager's cellphone stated that the information showed that Johnson, 16, was retrieving a text message just seconds before the BMW she was driving crossed the center line and struck an MB Haynes pickup truck head-on. Investigators also retrieved data stored in Johnson's vehicle's airbag module to determine her pre-impact speed. The airbag module showed that the she was traveling 52 mph. The posted speed limit for Long Shoals Road is 45 mph. The driver of the pickup truck suffered injuries, but he is expected to recover.

Emergency workers airlifted Johnson to Mission Hospital's Trauma Unit, and she remained in the Intensive Care Unit for several days before she eventually died from her injuries. This is a terrible tragedy that should never have happened.

The 10th grader was an exceptional and popular student. She attended Buncombe County Early College, where she was working toward earning her associate degree.

I have several prior posts about the deadly dangers associated with texting while driving. Unfortunately, many people feel that, if they are careful, they can safely text while they are driving. This is impossible. Several studies have shown that if you text while driving your attention level is worse than that of a drunk driver. In fact, a texting driver is 23 times more likely to have a deadly accident that a non-texting driver.

Several mobile applications (apps) are on the market to help us restrict our, and our teenage children who drive, impulse to text while driving. Applications that can deactivate a phone's ability to send or receive texts while in motion are quite effective.

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May 14, 2010

Digital Copiers Pose Security Risk

Copier Machine.jpgThis year marks the 50th anniversary of the good, old fashioned copier machine. Over the years, copiers have become increasing sophisticated, and many of today's copiers are more like computers than the copiers that originally hit the market.

As a result, all of the information that is copied is now permanently stored on the copier's hard drive, just like on your computer's hard drive.

From medical records to tax returns, it is all there on the copier, just waiting to be retrieved by anyone who has the desire to use other peoples' personal information for their own gain.

CBS News recently aired a story on this issue, and the implications range from identity theft to national security. It's worth watching.



Watch CBS News Videos Online

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