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On Monday morning, a fatal hit-and-run crash happened on I-26 in Spartanburg, South Carolina. According to WLOS ABC News Channel 13, the incident happened at about 5:00 a.m., near mile marker 29, just south of Highway 221. For currently unknown reasons, a pickup truck trailing a golf cart lost control and crashed into a median on I-26. The two occupants in the vehicle were not buckled up and were ejected. The driver, 48-year-old Timothy Holden, landed in the median and was rushed to Spartanburg Regional Medical Center for treatment of injuries.

The passenger, 25-year-old Jemel Lawton Jr., was thrown into the westbound lane of I-26 and struck by a passing vehicle. The car didn’t stop, and Lawton was pronounced dead on the scene. The cause of this crash is still under investigation, and investigative officials are trying to determine if Lawton was killed prior to being struck by the car or after.

Seat Belt Safety in the Carolinas

In 2012, 3,031 additional lives could have been saved if all unrestrained passenger vehicle occupants ages five years and older involved in fatal crashes had worn their seat belts across the country. Buckling up needs to be a top priority in North Carolina and across the country. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Click It or Ticket campaign is aimed at not only raising awareness about the economic costs of not buckling up, but also the very real dangers associated with being unrestrained in an automobile.

U.S. Seat Belt Usage Facts
• In 2012, an estimated 12,174 lives were saved due to seat belt use.
• From 2008 to 2012, seat belts saved an estimated 63,000 lives.
• In 2012, 10,335 unbuckled automobile occupants lost their lives in crashes.
• 62 percent of 18 to 34-year-old automobile occupants killed in crashes weren’t wearing their seat belts in 2012.

At this time, law enforcement officials are still looking for the hit-and-run driver. They believe the perpetrator was driving a dark blue or black four-door Toyota Camry or Honda Accord with possible damage on the right front area or center area of the car. There’s no word on the extent of Holden’s injuries, but his condition was described as serious. The team at Davis Law Group, P.A. sends their deepest condolences to the family members and friends of Jemel Lawton Jr. and wishes a full and speedy recovery to Timothy Holden.

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On Thursday morning, a school bus crash in Dana sent 15 children to the hospital. According to WLOS ABC News Channel 13, the one-vehicle crash happened sometime after 7:30 a.m. on Deep Gap Road. For currently unknown reasons, the Dana Elementary school bus ran off the right side of the road. The bus stuck a culvert and came to rest on its side in a ditch beside the roadway.

There were 36 students on the bus at the time of the crash. At least 15 of those students were taken to the hospital for treatment of injuries. Children were taken to both Pardee Hospital and Park Ridge Hospital. Thankfully, the injuries were described as minor. At this time, the crash is still under investigation with authorities. The team at Davis Law Group, P.A. wishes speedy and full recoveries to all of the students involved.

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Family members, loved ones, friends and coworkers are mourning the losses of two young men who were killed in car crashes last week. WLOS ABC News Channel 13 reports that Brandon Bridges, 19-years-old, was killed in a one-car cash on Saturday morning. For currently unknown reasons, his automobile left the roadway on Bear Creek Road and struck a tree. This fatal wreck happened just days after a fatal wreck in Henderson County that took the life of a 26-year-old man.

Fatal Henderson County Crash

Last week, we reported on the fatal crash in Henderson County. The collision involved a pickup truck that drifted across a centerline and struck a car, head on. The driver of the car, 26-year-old Robert Slater, was killed. Over the weekend, the unrelated, separate crash on Bear Creek Road also took the life of another Asheville citizen, 19-year-old Brandon Bridges. Almost unbelievably, the families of these two young men are connected through their jobs. The step father and father of the two victims both work at the same South Asheville shop, Rhino Linings.

At this time, there’s still no word on what caused the pickup truck driver to drift over the centerline in the Highway 280 crash. The WLOS ABC News Channel 13 report did mention that the pickup truck driver’s cell phone was found outside of the truck, and that it was confiscated as evidence to be examined.

Fatal Crashes in North Carolina

• From 2011 to 2012, reportable traffic crashes increased by 2.5 percent across the state.
• During that same one-year time period, traffic crash fatalities increased by 4.5 percent.
• Motorcyclist deaths increased by 14.3 percent.
• Cyclist deaths increased by 4.5 percent.
• Pedestrian deaths increased by 18.9 percent.

Improving Roadway Safety in North Carolina
The North Carolina Department of Public Safety (DPS) offers motorists a variety of tips for improving roadway safety. In addition to following all posted traffic signs and signals, motorists need to safely share the road with one another. Making a commitment to distraction-free driving is absolutely essential for keeping roads safe for fellow drivers, motorcycle riders, cyclists and pedestrians in Asheville and across the state. The team at Davis Law Group, P.A. sends their deepest condolences to the family members, friends and coworkers of Robert Slater and Brandon Bridges.

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On Tuesday night, a crash on Highway 280 in Henderson County took the life of 26-year-old Robert Slater. According to WLOS ABC News Channel 13, a pickup truck crossed the center lane of the highway and was headed for oncoming traffic. The truck hit a Honda going the other direction, head on.

Initial reports indicate that the cars involved were going about 50 miles per hour at the time of the collision. The driver of the pickup truck was taken to Mission Hospital for treatment of injuries. The driver of the Honda was killed. The crash is still under investigation, and charges are pending against the pickup truck driver.

Law enforcement officials did report that they plan on investigating whether or not distracted driving could have been a factor in this crash. The team at Davis Law Group, P.A. sends their deepest condolences to family members and friends of Robert Slater.

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On Friday night, well-known motorcyclist Don Tilley died in a crash on the Blue Ridge Parkway, near Mile Post 394. According to WLOS ABC News Channel 13, the wreck happened sometime around 8:00 p.m. His passenger and wife, Robinette, was critically injured and rushed to Mission Hospital. For currently unknown reasons, their motorcycle left the roadway and crashed into an embankment.

Community Members and Friends Mourn

The loss of Don Tilley, of Tilley Harley-Davidson in Statesville and Salisbury, has hit the local, racing and motorcycle communities hard. Described as an icon in the industry, his loss is being mourned by friends and admirers in the community. NASCAR driver Kyle Petty even expressed his condolences on this Twitter account.

Continuing Investigation

At the time of the crash, the Tilley’s were riding with other motorcyclists, but there’s still no word on why the motorcycle left the roadway and struck the embankment. The seemingly inexplicable crash is still under investigation with the U.S. Park Service’s Traffic Safety Unit and the Asheville Police Department. Investigators on the scene collected evidence and took field sketches and photos to help determine what happened. Apparently, this portion of the Blue Ridge Parkway is notorious for crashes.

Motorcycle Crash Facts

• Between 2001 and 2008, over 34,000 motorcyclists were killed in crashes across the U.S.
• During that same time period, an estimated 1,222,000 people were treated for injuries due to motorcycle crashes.
• Over half of all non-fatal injuries were to the leg/foot or head/neck.
• Motorcyclist death rates increased 55 percent from 2001 to 2008.

Motorcycle Safety in North Carolina
If law enforcement officials are continuing to see crashes on a particular stretch of roadway, it’s time to take a closer look. Improving motorcyclist safety should be a top priority in North Carolina. Safety gear and safe riding practices can only go so far, so drivers need to “Share the Road” too.

At this time, there’s no word on the Robinette Tilley’s condition or the extent of her injuries. The team at Davis Law Group, P.A. sends their deepest condolences to the family members and friends of Don Tilley, and wishes a speedy and full recovery to his wife, Robinette.

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On Thursday morning, a crash involving a Greenville County Sheriff’s deputy ended in the death of a pedestrian. According to WLOS ABC News Channel 13, the collision happened at about 5:30 a.m. at the intersection of Augusta Road and Old Augusta Road.

For currently unknown reasons, a deputy, who hasn’t yet been identified, struck a pedestrian. Two other vehicles were also involved in a collision just after the pedestrian was fatally hit. There’s no word on how the two crashes are related, and no injuries were immediately reported from the second collision.

A multi-disciplinary accident investigation (MAIT) team has been dispatched to investigate the incident. At this time, very few details have been released. The team at Davis Law Group, P.A. sends their deepest condolences to the family members and friends of the deceased pedestrian.

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On Monday night, a motorcyclist was killed in a collision involving a suspected drunk driver. The incident happened at about 9:30 p.m. in downtown Asheville. According to WLOS ABC News Channel 13, John Allan Zabriski, the driver of a 2004 Toyota pickup truck, was turning onto Woodfin Place from Charlotte Street, when he failed to yield the right-of-way to a motorcycle rider. The two vehicles collided, and the motorcyclist was killed.

Driving While Impaired
Zabriskie was arrested and charged with felony death by vehicle, DWI and making an unsafe movement. He was released after posting as $25,000 bond, and his court appearance is scheduled for October 9, 2014. Authorities have not yet released the name of the deceased motorcycle rider, because they are still trying to locate his out-of-state family members.

Fatal Motorcycle Crash Facts
• In 2010, 4,502 people were killed in motorcycle crashes.
• In 2012, 4,957 motorcyclists were killed in crashes.
• Since 2000, motorcycle crash deaths have increased by 55 percent.
• In medical care costs and productivity losses, motorcycle crash-related injuries and deaths cost $12 billion in one year.

Improving Motorcycle Safety
Most motorcycle riders are well aware of the importance of practicing safe riding techniques and improving their personal safety through the use of protective helmets, jackets, boots and other gear. Sadly, even with the latest and greatest safety equipment, motorcyclists can still become devastatingly injured or killed in crashes with drivers who aren’t sharing the road. Distracted and impaired drivers can put motorcyclists and other vulnerable roadway users at great risk. Motorcyclists, pedestrians and cyclists don’t have seat belts, steel cages and side-curtain air bags to keep them safe. They’re counting on drivers to pay attention, drive sober and share the road.

After a Fatal Motorcycle Accident
After a fatal motorcycle accident, it’s a good idea to speak with an experienced wrongful death attorney as soon as possible. Surviving family members are often facing medical bills, funeral expenses, a loss of future income, loss of companionship and the pain and suffering that accompanies the loss of a loved one. Having an attorney on your side during this difficult time is absolutely critical. The team at Davis Law Group, P.A. sends their deepest condolences to the family members and friends of the deceased motorcyclist.

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On Monday morning, a pedestrian was struck and killed in a hit-and-run crash near Hickory. According to WLOS ABC News Channel 13, the incident happened at around 7:00 a.m. on U.S. 321, south of Interstate 40. At this time, very little information has been released about this wreck which took the life of one person.

Investigators with the North Carolina Highway Patrol are still investigating the crash and trying to locate the driver. They are reportedly looking for a car with front-end damage and a broken windshield. At this time, there’s no word on color, make or model of the car. Authorities have not yet released the name of the victim, but the team at Davis Law Group, P.A. sends their deepest condolences to his or her family members and friends.

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Last week, the Department of Transportation (DOT) began working on a two-mile section of Highway 74A to improve traction and safety in wet weather. This particular stretch of the highway is notorious for dangerous and fatal crashes. According to WLOS ABC News Channel 13, the initial resurfacing project was only going to take a couple of days, but they won’t be able to re-paint the lanes until the new surface hardens, which could take a few weeks.

DOT Doesn’t Report any Problems
Although the DOT conducted skid tests with no reported problems, they’ve elected to add the new sticky surface on top of the blacktop highway for added protection. The resurfacing project most likely came about after numerous complaints from motorists and the deadly crash that took the life of a toddler last year. Drivers aren’t complaining about the reduction in lanes or added traffic during the resurfacing project, because they’re hoping this will help to improve traction and safety, especially in bad weather.

U.S. Highway Safety
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that there are more than 1,700 fatalities and 840,000 injuries due to crashes on public highways each year. Hopefully, this resurfacing project will help to improve safety for North Carolinians. Drivers are still encouraged to observe all speed limits and adjust their speed appropriately when the conditions call for it. The NHTSA also recommends properly choosing and maintaining tires to help you safely navigate the roadways. They urge motorists to check tread wear and tire pressure at least once a month to make sure your vehicle is safe for icy or wet conditions.

After a Car Accident
After any kind of car accident, it’s absolutely essential to speak with an experienced personal injury lawyer as soon as possible. Victims are often out of work and in the hospital. You need an advocate on your side to stay abreast of official investigations, deal with pushy insurance companies and make sure you get the compensation you deserve to get on with your life. If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident because of somebody else’s negligent, careless or reckless behavior, contact the skilled team at Davis Law Group, P.A. at 866-397-2897 for a case consultation today.

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The local bicycle community has been showing support for the Fairview cyclist who was injured in a crash on the Blue Ridge Parkway. According to WLOS ABC News Channel 13, Jaime Johnsen was seriously injured during a training ride on Wednesday evening. A vehicle turned in front of her bicycle at the Highway 74A intersection.

Jaime suffered from a fractured skull, concussion, ligament tears and other injuries. Faced with astronomical medical bills, a fellow cyclist started a account to raise money. The feedback and support from the local cycling community has been overwhelming.

Motorists are urged to lookout for cyclists and pedestrians. Even seemingly minor accidents can be incredibly devastating for cyclists, who don’t have the benefit of seat belts, air bags and steel safety cages. The team at Davis Law Group, P.A. wishes Jaime Johnsen a full and speedy recovery from her injuries.