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download (70)A teen has been indicted by a jury on charges of driving while impaired and felony death on Tuesday.

According to court documents, David Engelmann, 18, of Hickory, was driving a Subaru Forester in August when he ran his vehicle off the road. Engleman overcorrected and flipped the small SUV.

Killed in the accident was Engleman’s high school classmate, Jay Brian Robertson II, 17, who was ejected from the vehicle’s open sunroof. Robertson died as a result of the injuries sustained in the crash.

Investigators with the Hickory Police Department indicated that Engleman’s blood alcohol level at the time of the accident was 0.09 per cent, which is over the legal limit of 0.08.

A grand jury declined to indict Engleman on the charge of felony death by vehicle in May.

The problem of underage drinking is one that affects communities everywhere in the country. While some may feel it is only natural for teens to want to test their limits while drinking before they are of legal age, teen drivers have less experience with both driving and alcohol so they often will misjudge their ability to drive after consuming alcohol.

Statistics have also shown that teen drivers tend to drive over the speed limit more often than more experienced drivers do. When the elements of speed, a teen driver’s inexperience on the road, and the use of alcohol are added together, the end result can often be an accident leaving people seriously injured or worse.

If you have experienced a loss or damage or have been injured due to a drunk driver, give the offices of Auger & Auger a call. We have years of experience in DUI cases and in recovering restitution for damages for our clients You and your loved ones deserve not only compensation for your injuries, but also to see that justice is served. We will help you decide your best course of action and we are here to help. Your initial consultation is confidential, free and without obligation to you. Contact us today.

1307593_mobile_phone_in_hand-thumb-225x300-6408712Distracted driving, or texting while behind the wheel, is exceedingly dangerous.  It only takes a few seconds of inattention for an accident can occur. That is exactly what happened when Jessica Sowell was arrested. She is currently facing the charges of misdemeanor death by vehicle, texting while driving, trafficking heroin as well as other related charges.

Investigators say that Sowell’s Nissan Altima crossed the center lane on Mount Holly Road and hit Casey Townsend’s GMC Yukon in a head-on collision just after 12:00 a.m.

Townsend was declared dead at the scene of the crash.

Sowell did admit to police officers that she had been using her cellphone at the time of the accident.  Neither alcohol nor speed played a factor in the fatal crash.

The statistics are clear.  According to a recent study, those drivers who use their cellphones or smart phones to text while they are driving are 23 times more likely to be involved in a collision than those drivers who do not text and drive.  Texting behind the wheel is even more dangerous than those who drive under the influence of alcohol. At 55 miles per hour, it takes less than five seconds for a vehicle to ravel the length equal to that of a football field.  If someone has their eyes off the road for that distance, it’s a situation that can prove to be deadly.

When a driver has been texting and driving gets into an accident, it is very easy to prove by obtaining records from the driver’s cellphone or wireless provider.   If a person is found guilty of texting and driving, penalties can be as high as for those convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol.  There is often jail or prison time, high fines and civil damages to compensate victims and their families.

If you or someone you love has been injured or has tragically lost their life in an accident involving texting while driving, give the offices of Auger and Auger a call.  Having solid legal counsel on your side to represent you is important.


download (14)A woman is now facing the charge of DUI manslaughter after driving under the influence while sending text messages to her boyfriend.

According to investigators, Mila Dago, aged 22 at the time of the crash on August 14, 2013, was behind the wheel of a rented Smart Car when she ran a red light at around 4:45 a.m., crashing into a truck driven by Benjamin Byrum, 51.

A passenger in Dago’s car, Irena Reinoso was killed in the crash.

Last week, prosecutors released new evidence in the case. The evidence included a string of text messages sent by Dago while she was driving, the last of which said, “Driving drunk woo” and “I’ll be dead thanks to you”. The text was sent just three minutes before the fatal crash that killed Reinoso.

Police reports indicate that two hours after the accident Dago had a blood alcohol level of .178 percent, which is more than twice the legal limit.

Court records indicate that Dago entered a plea of not guilty to the charges of vehicular homicide, DUI manslaughter, and two counts of DUI.

No matter what emotional hardships a person is going through, there is just no excuse for getting behind the wheel after they’ve been drinking. Texting while driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs is potentially an even more lethal combination.

No amount of money can replace a loved one.  At Auger & Auger, we are here to help you in any possible after the accident. Our attorneys are knowledgeable in personal injury and wrongful death claim cases. We are here to help. .

One of the most well-known auto clubs in the nation, AAA, released a report last week recommending new laws that ban the use of cell phones and other mobile devices by teenage drivers. This is not the same old ban on texting and driving, this is the prohibition of any use of a mobile device by a teenage driver. But why?

Previous estimates had teenage distracted driving as the cause of vehicle collisions in about 14% of incidents. The startling report by AAA raises this to 58%, and it is not an estimate. The data was collected by watching real videos of 1700 teenage drivers.

The 7-year study shows that teens do more than drive when they are behind the wheel. Teens were observed reading text messages, talking on their phones, updating social media statuses, and even performing personal hygiene. The fact that teens drive while distracted is not news – the fact that the statistics are so much higher than was once thought is.

When it comes to distracted drivers, teens do not always know that they are, indeed, distracted. In one instance, a teen on his cell phone, looked both ways and was still struck by a vehicle that he did not see. In other accidents, teens rear end drivers without ever braking.

AAA is not trying to get teenage drivers in trouble with the law or their parents. Instead, the group is aiming to make the roads safer for every driver. The group hopes that parents of teen drivers will set down their own rules when it comes to borrowing the car. Parents should also be very clear of the consequences their children will face if they are caught disobeying the rules.

The law should not be limited to teens some say. Distracted driving knows no age, although adults may practice better self-control when driving. Anyone getting behind the wheel is reminded that driving is all that one should be doing inside of a vehicle. There is no room for error or distraction when it comes to operating machinery that could be the cause of someone’s death.

If you choose to drive a car, put your cell phone down. Eat before you leave home or wait until you get to your destination. Put your makeup on and brush your hair before you grab your keys. Understand that there is nothing that cannot wait. When you drive with all of your attention focused on the task, you are less likely to be the cause of your own, or someone else, ruined day.

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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.

familymwrA back-over incident takes place when a car is backing out of a driveway or parking space. It is a common and mostly preventable mishap, but thousands of children every year are killed or seriously injured because a driver backing up didn’t see them. Just like what happened to a 14-month toddler in Lee County.

According to S.C. Highway Patrol, little Jaylen was hit by a 1996 BMW driven by a 17-year-old female relative. This is more common than you might believe. The most common victims of back-over accidents are between the ages of 1 and 2, and are struck by a relative or parent.

As stated by KidsAndCars, a national group that tracks child deaths in motor vehicles, 50 children are backed over by vehicles every week in the U.S. 2 out of 50 die from their injuries. For that reason, drivers need to be aware of the “blind zone” that extends around the car when they back up.

One good lesson to remember: “Never move a motor vehicle until you make sure nothing is behind you.” You can always have one person exit the vehicle and another person to check what’s behind it. It is better to be cautious than regret later on.

If your beloved child has been a victim of a back-over caused by other people’s negligence, knowing your rights and acquiring legal protection will certainly help you get the compensation you deserve. Let an expert lawyer assist you with your case. Contact Auger & Auger today for a free consultation.

WonderlaneThey were heading out from their military base on their way to do their duty at the funeral of a WW2 veteran and former Army officer. However, several members of the Ft Bragg Honor Guard did not expect to encounter their own tragedy in the form of a logging truck coming down US 15-501 near Charlotte.

According to reports, serviceman Richard Horton, 22 was intent on his driving his van. The van had poor visibility from some angles, and Horton stated that he relied on his fellow passenger in the front seat to look for traffic. Unfortunately, the logging truck was missed. The logging truck which was estimated to have been going at 55 miles per hour struck the passenger side of the passenger van, crumpling it inward and rolling the vehicle with the 82nd Airborne Division Honor Guard members inside, causing it to slide over 70 feet down the road. They remained there, several of them trapped within the twisted steel for over 45 minutes until they could be freed by emergency responders

At least 5 members of the 10-person Honor Guard detail are considered to be in critical condition, two of whom had to be airlifted the University of North Carolina Health Care in Chapel Hill. Three other Honor Guard members were taken to Scotland Memorial Hospital. Richard Horton was charged with failure to yield right-of-way.

The driver of the tractor trailer, Donald George Stone, 42, also reported pain however was not hospitalized. He was not charged and faces no citations for the crash.

Another detail from the North Carolina National Guard was dispatched to serve as Honor Guard for the funeral while the rescue attempt was underway.

Car accidents are always traumatic and can be nerve-wracking. In the wake of these devastating incidents the last thing you need to worry about is trying to handle your own injury claims. The personal injury lawyers of Auger & Auger have over 20 years of experience of fighting aggressively for the rights of the injured. If you have been injured in an automobile accident, let our lawyers do the fighting for you.

USDAWhen a crash happens involving a tractor trailer, one of the things that officers look for is to see what cargo the truck was hauling. If it was hauling something dangerous, like fireworks or gasoline, hazmat crews may need to get involved so that the mess can get cleaned up. When hazardous chemicals get into the environment, the results can damage property and the health of people around them. This can open up haulers to lawsuits.

A relatively minor case happened a couple days ago in Charlotte. A crash happened on CSX Way with a tanker that was carrying ethanol. Ethanol is flammable, but not especially dangerous. However, hazmat crews still had to figure out how to remove the product after they discovered a small leak in the tanker.

Fortunately, this accident happened in an industrial area. Equipment for removing and storing the ethanol was probably very close by. However, if the chemical was a more dangerous one or if the accident was in a more public area then the carrier could have been facing the possibility of a lawsuit.

If you believe that your property or your health has been affected due to a chemical leak, you need to get experienced personal injury professionals on your side. The lawyers at Auger & Auger are ready to represent you. Call today to begin legal proceedings.


Accidents can happen even on the best of days. They can seem senseless, leaving people with questions. How will they move on? How can they pay for the damage? Sometimes the damage is irreparable.

On what should have been a very happy day, two families now face a funeral just hours after a wedding in Georgia.  As reported in WSOC, a witness was driving when he saw the groom stumbling on the side of the road. He was covered in blood and his shirt was torn up.

The Georgia State Patrol was called and the groom was questioned. He and his bride had just left their wedding reception in a sports car. The car went off the road when he tried to swerve to avoid hitting a dog. The car rolled down an embankment. The bride was thrown out of the car and the car rolled right on top of her.

The groom is now recovering in a local hospital, but they police say that charges may be pressed depending on a blood test. If they find that the groom was drunk when he left the wedding reception, there will be even more tragedy added to this sad case.

The families might be justifiably angry, and file a wrongful death claim in their grief. It is okay to consult with a lawyer who will listen to your case compassionately and explain your legal options. Anytime you or a family member have been injured, it’s possible that you may be entitled to compensation. If you live in North Carolina, call the law offices of Auger & Auger for a free consultation about your injury claim.

Credit: Vox EfxThis yuletide season, many drivers are already expected to brave the roads. AAA predicts that approximately one-third of Americans, or 94 million people, will travel more than 50 miles between Saturday and New Year’s. More than 90% of these people will be driving. If you’re one of them, consider following these safety driving tips:

1. Plan in advance — scheduling your trip beforehand will help you avoid worst peak traffic periods. It is also advisable to identify the safest routes. Roadside hazards like ditches, trees and narrow shoulders can increase risks while travelling. Intersections can be hazardous as well as busy roads without a median barrier. Being armed with such information can make you adjust your driving to different situations and take extra care on higher risk rural roads.

2. Make sure that your vehicle is safe before hitting the road. Check your vehicle, including brakes, tire tread and pressure as well as power steering fluid, coolant and lights. Also, when packing your vehicle, make certain that everything is securely stowed. Sometimes, even small objects can become perilous missiles in the event of a sudden stop or crash.

3. Seat belts save lives so buckle up and use correctly fitted child restraints. The most significant thing that you can do to improve your level of safety while driving is by making sure that you and everyone in your car are wearing seat belts. Additionally, properly using and fitting child restraints, child safety harnesses or booster seats can significantly reduce the risk of serious injury or death.

4. You must drive to the conditions. Conditions refer to the weather, the road you are on, traffic conditions, your vehicle and load,speed, and you.

5. Keep your cool and always remember that you are sharing the road. Traffic volumes increase during the holidays and can be really frustrating, but still, you have to be patient. Don’t be provoked by other drivers’ aggressive behavior. You will be sharing the road with other vehicles as well as pedestrians so you have to be careful to avoid triggering a crash.

There are lots of things that we can do to avoid accidents. But if you’re unfortunate enough to become a victim of a crash, contact Auger & Auger for a free consultation. We may be able to help you.

DISCLAIMER: The listed settlements and client reviews/testimonials do not constitute a promise or guarantee of any particular result in any particular case, as every case is unique. Each case was handled on its own merit, and the outcome of any particular case cannot be predicted by a lawyers or law firms past results. If a recovery by settlement or trial is made, the client will be responsible for cost advanced in addition to attorney fees. Client remains responsible for costs, expenses and disbursements, including medical bills, within the scope of representation. The attorney’s contingency fee percentage will be computed prior to the deduction of expenses from the total recovery.