The North Carolina Department of Transportation announced plans to review a heavily-trafficked county road for possible safety issues following a serious car accident that left three teenagers dead and a 53-year-old truck driver injured. An ongoing police investigation has yet to confirm the cause of the wreck, but troopers with the North Carolina Highway Patrol say that unsafe speeds and wet road conditions were likely at fault. Investigators have already cleared the truck driver from responsibility and explained that they do not currently believe driver intoxication was a factor.
Police say the fatal accident occurred when an 18-year-old driver lost control of his car on a sharp right turn, causing the vehicle to veer across the center line and slam into an oncoming semi truck. The collision ejected the teenage driver from the car. The driver and his two passengers, ages 17 and 14, were all killed in the crash. Investigators say none of them were wearing seat belts at the time. The truck's driver was transported to a nearby medical care facility to receive treatment for non-life-threatening injuries. He remained there in fair condition at last report.
According to one driver, the teenagers' car appeared to speeding shortly before the accident. While investigators have yet to confirm the vehicle's speed, they claimed that the vehicle was "definitely exceeding" the road's speed limit of 45 miles per hour. A representative for the NCHP said that while the rainy conditions probably contributed to the accident, the driver "was going way too fast for the curve."
Traffic safety engineers with the DOT are required by law to review conditions at the crash site, but one of the engineers assigned to the accident says it marks the first fatal wreck in at least the last 10 years. About 7,000 vehicles travel the road every day, but the DOT has yet to compile a report listing the total number of wrecks that have occurred in the area.
Source: Citizen-Times, "Driver speeding in crash that killed 3 near Asheville," Sabian Warren, Jan. 2, 2012