KELLUM LAW FIRM – NEWS & RESOURCES

Women Kills Self and Seriously Injures Others in I-40 Head-On Wrong-Way Collision

Pearlie Mae Williams of Mcleansville, NC, age 69, was driving the wrong way on I-40 in North Carolina, near Greensboro on January 20th, 2022, when she collided head-on into another vehicle causing serious injuries to the occupants. It is reported by the North Carolina Highway Patrol that the injured passengers included a family of three, two of whom, a father and son, suffered life-threatening injuries.

The collision occurred just after 5 p.m. Thursday and caused “a chain reaction of crashes” involving five other cars, according to a news release from the highway patrol.

Police indicate that Williams was reported missing from her home earlier in the day; however, it is unclear as to how long she was missing before the fatal crash. Williams died at the scene, and State Troopers continue to investigate why she was driving the wrong way on the interstate.

A witness to the collision, Mr. Diego Fernandez was riding in the eastbound lanes and was able to capture video of the violent crash according to WFMY News 2 reporting. “They were screaming and yelling,” Fernandez told the news station. “One of the ladies was praying for help. There were other people helping, too.”

The Highway Patrol reports that there were no other injuries indicated on the scene by occupants of the other vehicles involved in the chain-reaction collisions.

In the United States, deaths caused by wrong-way driving have been on the increase in recent years according to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. Between 2015 and 2018 there were 2,008 deaths for an average of 500 per year, up from an average of 375 during the years 2010 to 2014. This is an increase of more than 33 percent. According to Dr. David Yang, AAA Foundation executive director, “wrong-way crashes on divided highways are often fatal as they are typically head-on collisions.” AAA Foundation research shows that the odds of being a wrong-way driver increase with alcohol impairment, older age, and driving without a passenger. Drunken driving was the top factor, as the study found that 60 percent of wrong-way crashes involved a blood alcohol content of .08 or higher.

In North Carolina, the number of wrong-way crashes increased by almost 50% in 2020 despite fewer vehicles being on the roadways during the pandemic. The NC Department of Transportation states that there were sixty-eight wrong-way crashes reported in North Carolina in 2020 and that this is the highest number reported in over 20 years. Since 2000, the DOT has reported 723 wrong-way crashes statewide, resulting in 200 deaths and approximately 900 injuries.

When injuries are sustained in a wrong-way crash case, compensation should be awarded based upon how a jury would likely compensate the plaintiff. When a case cannot be settled without a lawsuit, a jury would determine the amount of compensation to be awarded to a plaintiff after the Judge reads to them from the following NC Pattern Jury Instructions:

“What amount is the plaintiff entitled to recover for personal injury?”

On this issue, the burden of proof is on the plaintiff. This means that the plaintiff must prove, by the greater weight of the evidence, the amount of actual damages proximately caused by the negligence of the defendant.

106.02 Actual damages are the fair compensation to be awarded to a person for any [past] [present] [future] injury proximately caused by the negligence of another.

In determining the amount, if any, you award the plaintiff, you will consider the evidence you have heard as to (each of the following types of damages):

  • medical expenses
  • loss of earnings
  • pain and suffering
  • permanent injury.

The total of all damages are to be awarded in one lump sum. I will now explain the law of damages as it relates to each of these.

106.04 Medical expenses include all [hospital] [doctor] [drug] [state other expenses] bills reasonably [paid or incurred] [to be paid or incurred in the future] by the plaintiff as a proximate result of the negligence of the defendant.

106.06 Damages for personal injury also include fair compensation for the [past] [present] [future] loss of time from employment, loss from inability to perform ordinary labor, or the reduced capacity to earn money experienced by the plaintiff as a proximate result of the negligence of the defendant.

106.08 Damages for personal injury also include fair compensation for the actual [past] [present] [future] physical pain and mental suffering experienced by the plaintiff as a proximate result of the negligence of the defendant. There is no fixed formula for placing a value on physical pain and mental suffering. You will determine what is fair compensation by applying logic and common sense to the evidence.

106.14 Damages for personal injury also include fair compensation for permanent injury. An injury is permanent when any of its effects will continue throughout the plaintiff’s life. These effects may include

  • medical expenses
  • loss of earnings
  • pain and suffering

to be incurred or experienced by the plaintiff over his life expectancy. Life expectancy is the period of time the plaintiff may reasonably be expected to live.

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Kellum Law Firm’s team of auto accident attorneys knows how to pursue and recover damages from wrong-way accident defendants. Let us protect your rights and pursue the recovery you need and deserve as the victim of a wrong-way driver.

Call 1-800 ACCIDENT and we will be with you all the way!

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DISCLAIMER:

The content on this website is provided for general information only. It should NOT be construed by the reader as LEGAL ADVICE. The LAWS of the Nation and of the State of North Carolina are subject to frequent change and addition. Such changes and additions may periodically render the general information on our website out-of-date, thus, we disclaim any and all liability in respect to actions taken or not taken by the reader based on his or her interaction with the content of this website.

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DISCLAIMER

Kellum Law Firm has compiled the above report based on the most recent and up to date information available to us at the time of writing. It is not uncommon for the details of North Carolina accident cases to change as investigations into the events develop over time. Therefore, we do not guarantee that the above report reflects the latest status of this case at the time of reading. If you have additional information relating to this incident that you would like to share with us, or you identify any information which is incorrect, then please contact us at ‘[email protected]’ and we will update the information as soon as possible.

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