Teens throughout the nation embrace the summertime sun and fun during their break from the stressors of school. Kids are eager to create new memories with their friends during the summer months and for many, one of the rights-of-passage is to receive their driver's license and celebrate the accomplishment with their peers. Sadly, the excitement of receiving a new license is quickly dashed when a driver's inexperience leads to heartbreaking injury and death for a small community.
A Watauga County teenager was killed in a tragic car accident after he was thrown from the back of a pickup truck. The 16-year-old victim was one of five people riding in the vehicle at the time of the crash. No charges have been filed in connection to the crash thus far, but authorities who investigated the incident reportedly discussed possible legal actions with the district attorney.
According to sources with the North Carolina Highway Patrol, the accident occurred as the driver of the pickup truck attempted to negotiate several sharp turns on a section of road located on a steep mountainside. The driver lost control on one of these turns, causing the pickup to overturn and throw the bed's occupants onto the roadway. The vehicle then landed on one of the teenagers, crushing him to death.
A trooper with the NCHP said that the four other victims had sustained injuries requiring medical treatment, but have since been released from the hospital.
Because the accident may have been caused by negligence on the part of the pickup truck's driver, the deceased victim's family may be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit in effort to collect damages compensating them for the grief and pain caused by their loss. Such lawsuits also provide an opportunity for the families of victims to seek justice when the criminal system fails to prosecute the party responsible for their loved one's death.
A witness who lives near the accident scene described hearing the crash from her home. She explained that she typically hears rushing water in a stream near her residence, but that she will always remember the sound of the crash drowning out that sound. She rushed to the accident site and helped calm one of the victims until emergency response personnel arrived.
A junior firefighter who responded to the accident said he knew the victims. "I just wish there was something I could have done," he explained. "I'm still in shock about it. It has not quite hit me yet."
Source: WSOCTV.com, "Teen dies after truck lands on top of him," June 15, 2012