A rear-end collision at a stoplight north of Wilmington, North Carolina (NC), left at least two adults injured and a toddler dead. The fatal wreck occurred on U.S. 17 on May 23, 2015, when a commercial box truck ran into the last vehicle in a line of cars waiting at a red light.
Several vehicles sustained damage in what news reports described as the chain-reaction crash, but the only confirmed injuries were suffered by a young family who live in Charlotte. The father and pregnant mother required hospital treatment for injuries, and the woman underwent an emergency Caesarean section to try to preserve the vability of her youngest, who had reached a gestational age of 8 months. The couple's 2-year-old son lost his life as a result of the collision, and the newborn also died within days of delivery.
No charges were immediately filed against the box truck driver. Investigators will most likely be looking into whether the trucker had been speeding prior to the crash, if the truck operator had become distracted and if the person was under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Other explanations could include a mechanical failure involving the truck's brakes or accelerator, as well as a medical emergency that left the trucker unable to keep his truck under control.
U.S. 17 is a major retail corridor along the southern coast of North Carolina. While it permits drivers to travel at interstate speeds in many section, the highway also has numerous stoplights. All drivers must remain alert for slowing and stopped traffic, especially just north of Wilmington, where this fatal rear-end collision appears to have occurred. When anyone takes their eyes and mind off the road for any reason, or when a vehicle cannot be stopped quickly and safely, avoidable injuries and deaths are possibilities that often become tragic realities.