November 12, 2009

Asheville - Motorcyclist Killed By Sport Utility Vehicle

motorcycle crash w SUV.jpgA sport utility driver turned left across a motorcyclist's lane of travel causing him to crash last Friday afternoon. Joseph Cross, 32, of Brunswick County died at the scene following the collision. The North Carolina Highway Patrol concluded that the SUV broadsided Cross as he was traveling along Kirby Road.

The State Highway Patrol charged driver of the SUV, Dorothy Hewitt, 51, with failing to yield the right of way. At the time of the crash, Hewitt was attempting to turn left into her driveway. She stated that she did not see any oncoming traffic until the motorcycle collided with her vehicle. Unfortunately, this scenario happens all too often.

The most common type of motorcycle accident involves another vehicle causing the collision by violating the right of way of the motorcycle at an interesection, usually by turning left in front of the oncoming motorcycle because the car driver did not see the motorcycle.

From ahead or behind, a motorcycle's outline is much smaller than a car's, and if a car driver is not paying attention, the car driver can miss seeing a motorcycle. Most often, car driver's are not looking for motorcycles, and even if a car driver does see a motorcycle, the driver often perceives the motorcycle to be further away, or traveling slower, than it actually is. Fortunately, there are many things the motorcyclist can do to increase his/her visibility.

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November 11, 2009

Asheville - Wrong-way Driver Looked Sick Before Fiery Crash

Wrong way car wreck.jpgA recently released police report indicates that the woman who caused a fiery crash on the Taconic State Parkway in Mount Pleasant, NY looked ill on at least two occasions shortly before the wreck.

Police say that Diane Shuler was severely intoxicated and high on marijuana at the time of the crash that killed eight people, including herself. Toxicology reports show that Shuler's blood acohol content (BAC) measured .19 and that she had ingested marijuana during the hour prior to the wreck. The crash occurred as Shuler drove her minivan down the wrong-way of a scenic four-lane parkway.

Shortly before the crash, witnesses observed Shuler sitting on a guardrail beside her red minivan with her head down, looking sick. Another group of motorists described seeing Shuler driving down the middle of two lanes, staring straight ahead, both hands on the wheel, with a look of sheer panic on her face.

Tragically, Shuler's 2 year old daugher, her 8 and 7 year old nieces, and a 5 year old little girl were in the vehicle with Shuler and died in the crash. Three other adults were also killed as a result of the wreck. Shuler's son was the only survivor in the minivan.

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November 9, 2009

Asheville - Target Fails to Inspect Bicycle - Brain Injury

Schwinn Kids' Bike.jpgWhen a consumer purchases a bicycle, or any product for that matter, they have the right to expect that the product will be safe for its intended use. After all, a corporate retailer is never allowed to needlessly endanger its customer or the general public. But that is exactly what big box giant Target has been doing for years. There are an estimated 67 million bicycles being ridden in America, and more than 59% of those are ridden by children.

On April 15th, 2006, a North Carolina couple decided to purchase a bicycle for their 14 year old daughter. They researched the various types of bicycles available and selected, what was in their opinion, the best bike for their daughter. They purchased the bicycle at Target because Target offered free assembly, represented that the bike was ready to ride, and their price was cheaper than buying the bike at a local bicycle specialty store.

Two weeks later, after the bicycle had been ridden just a few times by the daughter, the mother hopped on the bike to ride 3 blocks down the street to a neighbor's house. As she pedalled along, she shifted the bike's gears and suddenly the handle-bar violently jerked to the right, throwing her into the street on her head. The investigation found that the cause of the bicycle wreck was that the gear shift cable was incorrectly routed around the water bottle cage.

The brain injury was devastating. Severe amnesia, over a week in the intensive care unit, and months of brain injury rehabilitation therapy. The medical bills were enormous. She was unable to return to her profession as an auditor, and the extent of her injury left her with severe cognitive and emotional impairments. There are more than 150,000 non-fatal brain injuries from bicycle accidents each year in the US.

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November 4, 2009

Asheville Area Child Seriously Injured By Drunk Driver

drunk_drivers[1].jpgLast Sunday in Arden, 25 year old Manuel Martinez drove his car through a row of mailboxes and then struck a 9 year old little boy. Martinez continued driving after hitting the child, but he and his passenger were arrested a short time later after eyewitnesses identified the pair at a local gas station.

Police officers determined that Martinez' blood alcohol content was .21 at the time of the crash - that is almost 3 times the legal limit. As a result of his conduct, officers charged him with DWI, felony hit and run, reckless driving, and having an open container of alcohol in his car. Our search of the State's criminal records does not show any prior criminal charges against Martinez.

Drunk driving is still a serious problem in North Carolina and in the US. On average, there are more than 300,000 people injured each year in the US in alcohol related crashes - that is an average of one person injured almost every 2 minutes (NHTSA, Alcohol, 1999). Many of those crashes involve pedestrians.

Crashes involving drunk drivers frequently cause serious injuries or death because the drunk driver is often speeding at the time of the wreck. "The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) found that speeding alone was a contributing factor in almost 30% of all fatal crashes last year." (NHTSA, Speeding, 2009).

After the incident, EMS transported the child to the hospital where emergency room physicians diagnosed him with a severely fractured pelvis. Such injuries are usually not life threatening, but can cause problems that can last a lifetime, such as chronic pain and limited range of movement. Hopefully, the child will make a full and complete recovery.

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October 30, 2009

Halloween Flashlights Recalled - Danger to Children

Halloween Flashlight with Stencil.jpgHalloween Flashlight 3 Pack.jpg

ASHEVILLE, N.C. - The US Consumer Product Safety Commission issued a recall of over 600,000 Halloween Flashlights that have been sold by big box giant Target. There have been several reported incidents where the flashlights overheated to the point that they melted, and in one instance caused severe burns to a child's hand.

The recall involves two types of flashlights: a 3 pack of mini flashlights and a regular size flashlight that comes with six Halloween stencils. The mini flashlights have a key ring attached to the bottom of each flashlight and come in a package of 3. The standard sized flashlights come with a black handle with an orange top, and these come with six stencils in various Halloween colors of a pumpkin, ghost, spider, cat, witch, and skull & cross-bones.

These dangerous flashlights were sold exclusively at Target stores nationwide from August, 2009 through September, 2009 for $1 for the mini flashlights and $2.50 for the flashlights with stencils. Target imported the flashlights from China.

If you purchased one of these defective products, then you should immediately stop using the product and return it for a full refund to your nearest Target store. You may contact Target at 800-440-0680.

Davis Law Group handles personal injury cases involving defective and dangerous products as well as tractor trailer accidents, car accidents and various other personal injury cases. Davis Law Group is based out of Asheville, North Carolina and handles serious personal injury cases throughout western North Carolina. You may visit the firm's website at: www.davislawgroupnc.com.