A female motorcyclist who suffered critical injuries after getting rear-ended by a car's driver near Biscoe, North Carolina (NC), on the evening of March 8, 2017, died in the hospital on March 11. The fatal crash happened on I-73 just south of the interchange with NC 24/U.S. 27.
The man behind the wheel of the car escaped injury in the crash that ejected the woman from her motorcycle but was arrested on the scene. Current criminal charges against him include speeding, driving while impaired, reckless driving and transporting an open container of alcohol. A state trooper who spoke with the Greensboro News & Record said, “The driver of the Subaru was grossly impaired and his failure to reduce speed to avoid hitting her caused the accident.”
Newspaper reports identified the deceased motorcycle rider as a 54-year-old resident of Roanoke, Virginia (VA). Details on how fast the at-fault driver was traveling were not released, but North Carolina state statutes describe reckless speeding as going fast enough "to endanger or be likely to endanger any person or property." A police officer's determination that the driver was "carelessly and heedlessly in willful or wanton disregard of the rights or safety of others" also factors into the decision to cite a person for reckless driving.
Driving drunk would satisfy the second criteria. Added to that, the man who hit and inflicted fatal injuries on the motorcycle rider was described as "grossly" impaired. Under North Carolina law, gross intoxication means registering a blood alcohol concentration of .15 or higher. The legal limit for adult drivers is .08. People begin to lose muscle control and start having their vision blur when their BAC rises above .13.
Motorcycle riders always face risks from inattentive and disrespectful drivers. Operating while very drunk increases those risks exponentially because alcohol impairs a person's ability to recognize and respond to impending crashes. My Carolina personal injury and wrongful death attorney colleagues have seen the tragic results too often. Drivers in cars and trucks must watch out for and responsibly share the road with motorcyclists at all times. Making the decision to get in the driver's seat after becoming intoxicated -- or, as appears to have happened near Biscoe, NC while still drinking -- makes meeting that duty impossible.