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Since 2009, texting while driving has been illegal in North Carolina, but that did not stop one local woman. On February 8, a Belmont woman was charged with second-degree murder for the death of an elderly Belmont woman, and has been charged with texting while driving and driving while intoxicated, according to WCNC Charlotte. The driver was operating her 1999 GMC Jimmy SUV when she hit a 75 year-old pedestrian with. According to witnesses, the woman was dragged down the road by the truck until the vehicle finally came to a stop after hitting a row of trashcans. The elderly woman lay on the street and yelled for help. Her husband rushed to her side, but she later died at an area hospital.

The driver is also charged with reckless driving, driving while impaired, texting while driving, and driving without a valid license along with second-degree murder. Her license had been suspended for 12 months following a DWI conviction in October 2013. She was also charged in January 2011 for a Level 4 DWI. Her criminal record lists other previous drug and alcohol charges. She is being held in the Gaston County jail without bond.

Neighbors are angry, worried and upset. Not only was the driver intoxicated and texting while driving, she also admitted to consuming pain killers. Members of the community are concerned that our streets are becoming more dangerous because drivers are becoming more careless. Driving under the influence of marijuana or pain killers is just as serious as driving under the influence of alcohol. Texting while driving can be just as deadly. According to one statistic, at any given time during the day across the US, about 660,000 drivers are using cell phones or other electronic devices while driving. This statistic has held steady since 2012 as consumers purchase more smart phones, iPads, iPods, and other devices.

Distracted driving falls into three different categories: manual (taking your hands of the wheel), visual (taking your eyes off the road), and cognitive (taking your mind off the road). Cell phone use involves all three categories, making it a more dangerous than eating while driving or talking to other passengers in the vehicle while driving. And what is even more disconcerting is that cell phone use was reported in 18 percent of distracted driving fatalities in America.

North Carolina bans all cell phone use, both handheld and hands-free, for drivers under the age o 18 and prohibits texting while driving for all North Carolina drivers. According to a study conducted by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute, you are three times more likely to be involved in a crash when you engage in visual and manual tasks such as reaching for a cell phone, dialing or texting. At Auger & Auger, we urge you to take the science seriously. Young drivers between the ages of 18 and 24 are most susceptible to texting while driving and, subsequently, being involved in an accident due to texting while driving. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that 44% of respondents between the ages of 18-20 admit to continuously texting while driving, and 49% of young adults between the ages of 21-24 admit to sending text messages and emails while driving. The research also shows those teens with parents who text and drive are more likely to mimic their parents’ reckless behavior. Educate your teens about the dangers of texting and driving, and heed to the warnings yourself. If you were injured in a car accident because another driver was texting and driving, call the car accident attorneys at Auger & Auger to find out your rights and options under North Carolina law.

An elderly Florida woman killed three people and seriously injured four more as she tried to back out of a handicapped parking space. As the 79 year old woman was trying exit the parking lot, she put her vehicle in reverse and accelerated backwards, hitting a group of seven elderly women before she jumped a curb, backed over some small trees, and ended up partially submerged in a creek. Neither she nor her passenger was injured. According to news sources, one person died at the scene and two died at an area hospital. The four injured churchgoers are in serious condition.

This tragedy hit the small community hard; as the Pastor tries to comfort his congregation and the victims’ families, the 79 year old woman who killed and injured so many is likely dealing with feelings of guilt for failing to put her vehicle in drive before accelerating. Perhaps Florida law is also to blame for this accident. Florida law requires that drivers 80 years of age and older pass a vision test and renew their licenses every 6 years, rather than every 8 years as is required of younger drivers. Some experts argue that the law does not go far enough. University of Florida’s Institute on Aging director Dr. Marco Pahor believes that vision is not the only impairment that should be tested. Other age-related factors, such as cognitive impairments, hearing impairments, and physical impairments all have an effect on a driver’s ability to safely operate a vehicle. Furthermore, elderly drivers are more likely to be taking multiple prescribed medications which can affect their ability to drive safely. It is also possible that the family members of the 79 year old woman could have taken action to prevent her from driving. Florida law allows for the confidential reporting of unsafe driving by anyone, including a doctor, a police officer, a relative, or even a bystander. This means that before this 79 year old woman plowed through 7 pedestrians, a relative could have reported prior instances of unsafe driving to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHS&MV). Upon receipt of a complaint questioning the safety of an elderly driver, the DHS&MV will require a re-examination prior to renewing a driver’s license. The test consists of interviewing the driver, and can also include a written test and a vision test.

This is a problem that is not going away. While statistics show that elderly drivers are not as dangerous as teen drivers, demographics are changing. In 2011, there were 28.5 million Americans over 70. That figure is expected to balloon to 52.7 million by 2030. Making it more difficult for the elderly to keep their license is something very few politicians will want to touch. In fact, some may consider it political suicide because the size of the elderly voting population.

As for the elderly driver, authorities are investigating whether or not to file charges. The families of all seven victims may be able to file a civil suit against the elderly driver for negligence. At Auger & Auger, we offer our condolences to those hurt or killed in this tragedy, along with their family, friends, and the congregation. If you were injured or lost a loved one to someone else’s negligence, call us today to discuss your rights and options. We hope to provide you with peace of mind in the face of your ordeal.

Eli ChristmanTexting and driving do not mix under any circumstances.  Put prescription medication on top of that, and you have a recipe for car accidents and fatalities.  Belinda Hudspeth learned that the hard way, as she is now facing charges for allegedly hitting and killing Lavon Ramsey.

Hudspeth regrets her decision to text and drive.  She’s already faced two DWI convictions and one for drug trafficking.  She was sentenced to probation in those cases, but now she’s realizing the depth of her actions.  “I just want to apologize to the family,” Hudspeth said in court.

Ms. Hudspeth’s bond was set at $1 million.  The family was in tears as the bond was set.  “My momma didn’t mean to do it.  It was an accident,” said Angela Walker, Hudspeth’s daughter.

While these types of things do happen, and she didn’t hit Lavon Ramsey on purpose, the fact still remains that Ramsey is dead and Hudspeth is facing charges because she briefly stopped paying attention to the road to answer a text.  One has to ask if the text that she was sending was worth someone’s life.

Chuck Ramsey, the husband of the deceased, says that he forgives Hudspeth for answering the text.  “I feel for her and I know she didn’t do this and things happen,” Ramsey said.

The witnesses around don’t have the same opinions.  “I promise you if I get called into court for this, I will make sure I do my best to convict this woman of the maximum sentence she can possibly get,” says one witness, Brian Sawyer.

If you or your loved one has been involved in an accident, we encourage you to seek legal counsel.  We are trained to answer many of the questions that you have, and we will do our best to make sure that you get those answers and the justice that you deserve.

This past October, a young missionary from Charlotte was killed while riding his bicycle in California. Even though the recent high-school graduate was wearing a helmet, he died of his injuries. Despite bike safety awareness, bike collisions with motor vehicles are on the rise and so are fatalities. Between the months of January and July 2012, 14 pedestrians and cyclists were killed by motor vehicles. By the end of the year, there were 22 pedestrian and cyclist fatalities.

Analysis by the NC Department of Transportation found that most pedestrian accidents happen uptown, and in low-income areas where people rely on walking to their destination or to get to public transportation.  The community is demanding safer streets for our pedestrians and cyclists. Charlotte, along with other Sunbelt cities such as Phoenix and Orlando, expanded exponentially during the automobile age, meaning our city was built for cars. Charlotte’s goal is to build 375 miles of sidewalks by 2035, however, city planners are running into funding problems as the city council keeps rejecting spending plans.  Municipalities across the country are trying to renovate their cities into bike and pedestrian-friendly communities while also tightening budgets in a tough economy. Local residents are urging lawmakers to be proactive instead of reactive. The City of Charlotte has a tendency to approve sidewalks and bike lanes in certain areas only after a cyclist or pedestrian was injured or killed in that area. Residents want to see safety measures enacted before someone is seriously injured or killed. Many of those killed are Charlotte’s youngest residents with promising futures.

After a catastrophic injury or death due to a collision with a motor vehicle, you may feel helpless and overwhelmed, or that you life has been turned upside down. What should you do? After immediately seeking medical attention, you may be able to file a civil suit against the negligent driver. However, adverse insurance companies will thoroughly investigate whether you, either the pedestrian or the cyclist, were abiding by North Carolina law. Jaywalkers that were hit by motorists will have a more difficult time proving negligence. The same goes for bicyclists that were not following road rules at the time of their accident.

The attorneys at Auger & Auger have seen the kind of injuries a pedestrian or cyclist suffers after a collision with a motorist. We have also seen the lasting damage it can have on the lives of victims and family members. Our attorneys urge pedestrians and cyclists alike to exercise extreme caution when walking or bicycling on streets without sidewalks. Jaywalking is risky, especially in the technology age when many drivers are distracted by cell phones. In the event you or a loved was injured or suffered a wrongful death due to a driver’s negligence, we can help you navigate through this difficult time and recover the compensation you deserve for your loss.

lowes+pinned+pedestrian+012014A Wisconsin bicycle delivery man lodged in the windshield of the car that struck him claims he turned to the driver and said, “Hello, I’m the guy you hit on the bicycle.”

In a bizarre twist of events, the driver did not respond and instead drove into a stop sign and then hit another vehicle before he got home, with the cyclist still stuck in his windshield. The driver finally noticed the cyclist when he came to a stop outside his home.  According to the cyclist, the driver questioned who he was and what was he doing inside his car, before locking his car doors and going into his house. The driver is now facing a few preliminary charges, including suspicion of drunk driving, suspicion of hit-and-run and suspicion of failing to render aid.

The cyclist is lucky that he walked away from the situation relatively unscathed. Actually, he is lucky to be walking at all. In order to be more visible to drivers, the cyclist, a newspaper carrier, was wearing a reflective vest and his bike was outfitted with front and rear flashers. Unfortunately, motorists fail to look out for cyclists and pedestrians way too often. This month in Mooresville, a pedestrian was pinned underneath a vehicle outside a Lowe’s. He later died of his injuries. It is unknown if the driver was negligent, but it is common knowledge that parking lots are teeming with pedestrians. Instead of sparing your attention for a parking spot, keep your eyes peeled for a wandering pedestrian.

The family of the victim in Mooresville may be trying to come to grips with such a senseless death. If the driver is found negligent, he or she could be facing some serious charges. The family may also have the option to file a wrongful death suit against the driver. But this is a tragedy that no amount of compensation can account for. However, there are several steps motorists, cyclists and pedestrians can take to limit the risk of a serious accident. As a pedestrian, be aware of your surroundings. Do not rely on a car to see you, instead, look where you are going and never text while walking. Collisions involving a motor vehicle and a pedestrian are more deadly because pedestrians have no protection against oncoming cars. When walking, it’s best to be proactive.

Helmets save lives. Most bike accident fatalities are due to head injuries, so it’s best to err on the side of caution. Pay attention to traffic patterns and wear both bright colors and reflective clothing. As for motorists, remember that bicycles are legally allowed to ride on the road. The assumption that “bikes are not cars” has very little legal backing when arguing against sharing the road. Give cyclists space on the shoulder and keep a watchful eye for both walkers and bicyclists, especially in the warmer months.

Motor vehicle collisions with pedestrians or cyclists can have devastating consequences. Call the experienced attorneys at Auger & Auger today to discuss your rights and options.

As a parent, you place a lot of time and effort in choosing the right day care center for your kids, and you hope your decision on which center to choose is the right one.  Four Charlotte families may be rethinking the day care center they had entrusted with their children after a fire destroyed a local home that also serves as a day care center in North Charlotte.   The rules for home day care centers are not the same as for other child care facilities.  According to DHHS, this particular home daycare was license and was operating in accordance with the number of children allowed.  This fire was ruled an accident, and seems to have started from some disposed charcoal in the back of the home. All four children and one adult escaped safely without injury.

No parent wants to receive the phone call in which they learn their child’s safety was compromised by the facility they trusted. Everyone in the day care center is lucky to have walked away from the blaze unharmed.  Under NC law, the staff to child ratio for in-home child care is much more restrictive than the ratio required for an independent child care facility.  For example, for an in-home daycare, there cannot be more than 5 participants who are of pre-school age, and that includes the pre-school age children of the owner/operator.

What should you do, as a parent, if you learn your child was injured at day care? In this case, the fire seems to have started due to negligence. If a child had been injured, his or her parents or guardian could file a civil suit against the homeowner for negligently disposing of the hot charcoal that caused the fire.  In the event of a wrongful death, you may have to take the painful step of filing a wrongful death suit against the responsible party, even if your child’s death was an accident. This can be an excruciating and awkward experience, but a necessary one in order to pay for medical bills and funeral expenses.

North Carolina’s Department of Social Services inspects each licensed day care center multiple times a year. If your child was injured at a day care center that has prior, unresolved citations, this may strengthen your case. Every case involves a different set of circumstances, but it is important that you, as the parent, are aware of your child’s rights under North Carolina law. At Auger & Auger we urge you to be extremely thorough when choosing the right day care center for your child or toddler. Do not hesitate to inquire about staff history and always take a look at the center’s license. North Carolina keeps updated records on all licensed facilities, so call the DSS or look up a possible facility online to check out its rating. In the event that tragedy does strike, call us today to speak with a seasoned attorney about your child’s injury.

Over the past few days, the wintry weather has kicked into high gear, blanketing snow and ice over the entirety of North Carolina.  While these conditions are extraordinary, safety measures to prevent accidents are not.  The police department reported that they were responding to 105 wrecks in the Charlotte area on Wednesday.

What types of accidents are happening?

  • Drivers get run off the road to avoid getting hit by others
  • Downed power lines are tangling up the roads
  • Overturned vehicles
  • Multi-car pile-ups

These types of accidents are common during snow and ice storms, but there are ways that you can prevent these types of accidents from happening to you.

Stay off the roads

We definitely understand that you are under pressure to go to work, but is it necessary to risk getting into an accident?  If your employer allows it is there any possibility of remote working?

Drive Slowly

We cannot emphasize this one enough.  Speed plays a part in a huge number of accidents.  When the weather is frightful, it’s time to slow down at least 10mph to the fact that there’s snow and ice on the roadways.  If you still feel that you’re going too fast then slow it down further.  If you’re late for an appointment as a result of it people will understand.

Drive during the daytime

When you drive during the daytime, you have a higher likelihood of being able to see black ice and other hazards.  Driving at night is already dangerous without the extra hazard of ice caking the roadways.

If you’ve been injured as a result of an accident caused by the winter weather, please give Auger & Auger a call for a free consultation.  We’re experts in getting you the settlements that you deserve.  Call today.

Members of the 82nd Airborne honor guard were badly injured & pinned in an accident with a log truck. Accident lawyer Herb Auger calls it a reminder of the dangers of large trucks.

LAURINBURG, N.C. – TEN Fort Bragg honor guard members were brutally injured when their van collided with a tractor trailer. Attorney Herb Auger of Auger Law says these accidents are sadly common, and can involve the worst injuries of any kind of vehicle accident.

Ten 82nd Airborne Division honor guard members were on their way to a funeral home when their van was struck by a truck hauling logs, according to ABC 11 News (retrieved 01.14.2014). The impact of the collision crumpled part of the van, pinning several servicemen inside.

Part of the van had to be cut open to free the men.

The van driver and all nine passengers were injured, with at least three being admitted to the Intensive Care Unit. The driver of the tractor trailer declined medical treatment.

“A tractor trailer can demolish most other vehicles, often taking very little damage itself,” said Auger, who works to assist accident victims and their families. “Any accident can turn tragic but the worst ones we see involve tractor trailers.”

State troopers say the van driver turned left in front of the semi, and the driver has been cited with failure to yield.

“The intersection is known as Five Points,” Auger said. “The road angles off making it hard to see if there’s oncoming traffic as you turn.”

Auger says drivers should never take chances with semi trucks.

“Give them more space than you think they need, stay farther back than you feel like you have to, and never turn in front of one,” he said.

The honor guard was on its way to perform military honors at a funeral for a World War II veteran.

About Herb Auger:

Herbert W. Auger, Esquire is a Charlotte car accident lawyer with over 20 years of experience helping victims of auto accidents receive fair compensation. A founder of Auger & Auger law firm, Herb Auger believes in an aggressive results-oriented approach that maximizes the awards his clients receive. He can be contacted at:

Auger & Auger
717 S. Torrence Street
Suite 101
Charlotte, NC 28204
704-364-3361
www.augerlaw.com

A tractor trailer crash leaked ethanol in harmless quantities—but attorney Herb Auger says it underscores the risk of industrial truck accidents.

CHARLOTTE, NC – A CRASH involving a chemical-loaded tractor trailer alarmed residents and stopped traffic. Accident lawyer Herb Auger of Auger Law says that even though the chemicals turned out not to be deadly, they highlight the increased risk of accidents involving tanker trucks.

The crash involved a tanker hauling ethanol according to WCNC News (retrieved 01.14.2014). When the semi crashed, first responders detected a leak of the substance and HazMat was notified.

“The consequences tend to be worse whenever a big truck is involved,” said Auger, whose firm helps accident victims who have been injured. “A tractor trailer is quite possible the most dangerous vehicle on the road. But once there are chemicals on board, it can affect an entire community.”

Ethanol is an industrial version of alcohol which can be used as a solvent or for fuel. While not the most toxic chemical on the roads, Auger says it can cause substantial harm in large enough quantities.

“This is something you don’t want in your groundwater,” he said.

Fire Department officials said the leak was minor. Motorists were told to use a different route to avoid the accident, but no evacuation was ordered for the area.

Nonetheless Auger says it drives home the very real risk of a chemical truck accident.

“We work with a lot of accident victims and we’ve seen all kinds of truck crashes. Cargo scattered on the road, live cattle wandering off… but it is industrial chemicals that cause the most harm.”

Auger said motorists should give all semi-trucks a wide berth.

“Treat them with respect and give them lots of room, and you’re likely adding a few years on your life.”

About Herb Auger:

Herbert W.  Auger, Esquire is a Charlotte car accident lawyer with over 20 years of experience helping victims of auto accidents receive fair compensation. A founder of Auger & Auger law firm, Herb Auger believes in an aggressive results-oriented approach that maximizes the awards his clients receive. He can be contacted at:

Auger & Auger
717 S. Torrence Street
Suite 101
Charlotte, NC 28204
704-364-3361
www.augerlaw.com

TobyotterConcord Police have detained a man in connection with a fatal hit and run that occurred outside of a Mexican restaurant. They arrested 48-year-old Darrin Eugene Edwards at his home on Blue Sky Drive NW in Concord in connection with the incident. Police charged Edwards with one count of felony hit and run and one count of misdemeanor death by vehicle.

The victim of the incident was a 50-year-old man named Juan Antonio Torres Jr., also from Concord. He was fatally struck by Edward’s 2014 Jeep Cherokee near the entrance of El Patron. Concord Police believe alcohol is a factor. At present, Edwards is in Cabarrus County Jail under a $100,000 bond.

Hit-and-run is the act of causing a traffic accident and failing to stop and identify oneself afterwards. The penalties and the definition of hit-and-run vary from state to state, but they all have severe legal consequences including the suspension or cancellation of one’s driver’s license, or even lifetime revocation of a driver’s license in certain jurisdictions.

If you or one of your beloved family members has been a victim of hit and run, dealing with the unfortunate incident single-handedly can be very painful. Why not let an experienced attorney assist you with your situation? Having someone who is knowledgeable with the law and willing to support you with your case will not just lessen your worries, but can also help you acquire the compensation you deserve. Call Auger & Auger today for a free consultation.

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