A North Carolina schoolteacher is dead after her vehicle was struck by a piece of metal that fell off another vehicle. Investigators with the North Carolina Highway patrol determined that the fatal accident occurred when a broken leaf spring fell from the undercarriage of a dump truck and broke through the woman's windshield and struck her, probably in the face or torso.
The woman then likely reacted by stiffening her body, which would have caused her to push on the gas pedal. This is probably what caused the vehicle to slam into a concrete median and fly off the road. The woman was taken to a hospital for medical care, but died shortly after. No word has yet surfaced on whether the driver of the dump truck will face a wrongful death lawsuit.
Investigators say it is unlikely that the driver will face criminal charges. A trooper with the NCHP explained that the driver probably did not know that the leaf spring became dislodged. No witnesses saw the accident occur, but investigators were able to determine that the metal came from a dump truck based on its shape and size. The spring, which weighed about 15 pounds, broke into two pieces at the time of the accident, with one of the segments embedding itself in the road.
Several tributes to the woman were held at two local schools where she had taught. She had just begun her first week of teaching at a new elementary school and had already impressed students and their parents.
Source: Beaver County Times, "Tragic occurrence took Ellwood City native's life," Eric Poole Calkins Media, Sept. 8, 2011