One man is dead, four people face criminal charges, and two innocent victims remain hospitalized with serious injuries after a “spontaneous speed competition” down the Outer Banks led to a head-on collision on NC 12. The wreck happened near the Cape Hatteras National Seashore Whalebone Junction Information Station in Nags Head on the morning of May 19, 2017.
According to State Highway Patrol investigators, a man driving a Honda was street racing when he abruptly changed lanes into the path of a northbound pickup truck owned by a local fishing center. The resulting crash ignited a fire that badly burned both the people in the truck. The passenger had to be pulled from the wreckage of the pickup by bystanders and was admitted to Sentara Norfolk General Hospital in critical condition.
The at-fault driver of the Honda died at the scene. The other men he was racing against have been charged under section 20-141.3(b) of the North Carolina Code of Laws, which makes it “unlawful for any person to operate a motor vehicle on a street or highway willfully in speed competition with another motor vehicle.”
Some version of that anti-street racing law exists in every state. Law enforcement officials and health care providers share concerns over planned and unplanned racing on public streets because of the dangers posed to participants, spectators and passersby. The scope of the danger is difficult to calculate, but one study of street racing done with “data from 10 major cities and extrapolating on the basis of national population figures, [found] that at least 50 people die each year as a result of street racing. Although related deaths are difficult to quantify, media reports confirm that street racing takes its toll on innocent people as well as street racers, passengers, and onlookers.”
The innocent victims of this street racing crash on NC 12 in Nags Head may survive, but they will face major medical bills and, possibly, lifetimes of pain and disability. Even though the at-fault driver lost his life in the collision, his insurance policy will remain in effect until all personal injury claims are resolved. The injured individuals could also benefit from consulting with a knowledgeable Carolina personal injury lawyer who could offer advice on accessing insurance coverage through their employer and through the policies of the other people involved in the race.