Brent Adams & Associates Legal Blog
Our North Carolina legal blog covers personal injury news, accident information, medical malpractice reports, lawsuits, and other topics of interest for those who are dealing with their own North Carolina legal issues. Updated daily, our NC injury attorneys hope this blog helps readers stay connected to legislation changes and informed when it comes to significant NC court decisions.
Authorities said that a fire at McCotter’s Marina in Beaufort County resulted in personal injuries to three people and damage to at least 25 boats on the morning of January 7, according to authorities.
According to the Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office, the 911 call was made at about 12:30 a.m. Upon crews’ arrival at the scene, they said the north dock was engulfed in flames.
It took seven fire departments more than five hours of work to extinguish the blaze.
Beaufort County Director of Emergency Management John Pack said that investigators determined the fire to have been caused by an electrical fault. No details were provided.
Authorities said that the majority of the boats damaged were a total loss and about 100 feet of the covered dock was also destroyed.
Authorities said that three people received treatment for injuries including burns and hypothermia. At least one woman jumped into the water to escape the fire.
A Fort Bragg spokesman said that authorities are still attempting to identify a person who sustained fatal personal injuries in a fiery crash on Honeycutt Road on the night of November 30.
The spokesman, Ben Abel, said on December 2 that authorities are having to use dental records in order to determine the person’s identity.
The two-vehicle crash took place around 6:30 p.m. near Simmons Army Air Field near Texas Pond, according to Abel. One vehicle crossed the center line and struck the other head-on.
Abel said both drivers had to be cut out of their respective vehicles.
The second driver, whose identity was not immediately made available, sustained a broken ankle and broken arm. That driver was transported to Womack Army Medical Center.
Abel said the drivers were the lone occupants of their respective vehicles.
A 47-year-old man died and a 10-year-old passenger sustained personal injuries in a single-vehicle crash in North Raleigh on November 3. The badly damaged vehicle struck a tree and burst into flames in front of Jeffreys Grove Elementary School, police said.
A police accident report said that the accident took place shortly after 8 a.m. on Jeffreys Grove School Road, near the intersection of Eddystone Drive.
The deceased man, Durham resident Luca Melloni, was southbound in a 2004 Mitsubishi with his 10-year-old son Gianluca Melloni. Police say their vehicle ran off the road to the right, near the entrance of the elementary school.
Police said witnesses say the car traveled about 126 feet along the right shoulder of the road before it collided with a no parking sign. The car swerved back onto the road and traveled more than 100 feet across two lanes of traffic before if ran off the road to the left and struck a tree near the entrance of the elementary school, according to police.
Gianluca Melloni received hospital transport with injuries not considered to be life-threatening, according to police.
The accident remains under investigation.
On the evening of October 29, a wreck and vehicle fire caused personal injuries and shut down traffic in both directions on Interstate 40 in Wake County.
Shortly before 5 p.m., a car and truck collided on I-40 East near Aviation Parkway. Authorities had multiple lanes closed while trying to clear the scene.
Authorities said that injuries were involved in the accident, but information about the extent of them and the identities of those involved was not immediately made available.
During the incident, a SUV burst into flames on I-40 West. The cause of the blaze was not immediately determined.
Because of traffic backups, fire crews took several minutes to arrive at the scene. Upon their arrival, the SUV had become fully engulfed in flames.
A woman suffered fatal personal injuries on the morning of October 1 after the car she was driving collided with a utility pole on U.S. 25, Greenville Highway in Flat Rock, according to the North Carolina Highway Patrol.
Trooper Jeff Bair said that 34-year-old Hendersonville resident Amie Bagwell Barnes was northbound on Greenville Highway in a 1995 Corvette when she lost control of the vehicle. The car ran off the road to the right, collided with a utility pole, and caught fire. The accident was reported shortly after 1:30 a.m.
Bair noted that Barnes was traveling at an estimated rate of 85 mph in a 35 mph zone.
Barnes died inside the vehicle. A passenger, Florida resident Jorge Lopez, escaped with injuries not considered to be life-threatening.
Bair said that alcohol is suspected to have been a factor.
The North Carolina Highway Patrol says that one person suffered fatal personal injuries in a single-vehicle accident on N.C. Highway 97 in Nash Count on the morning of September 8.
According to Sgt. Jeff Gordon, a westbound vehicle ran off the road, collided with a tree, and burst into flames. The driver, who was trapped inside the vehicle, was pronounced dead.
The identity of the driver was not immediately made available.
The investigation into the accident remains in progress.
At least one person suffered fatal personal injuries in an accident on Interstate 77 on August 16 near the state line for North and South Carolina in which a fuel tanker crashed and caught fire, also resulting in the interstate being shut down for several hours.
According to North Carolina Highway Patrol Lance Corporal Billy Elder, the driver of the tractor trailer in question was killed and two women in a car that collided with the truck received transport to a local hospital to undergo treatment. None of the people involved’s identities were immediately made available.
Despite the truck traveling in the southbound lanes, both sides of the ride were closed. The northbound lanes were reopened after the fire was extinguished and southbound lanes were reopened later that night.
A single-vehicle accident on the afternoon of July 22 resulted in two Westfield men suffering fatal personal injuries just inside the Stokes County line.
Trooper Joseph Beck of the North Carolina Highway Patrol said that 61-year-old Luther Clayton Vaughn was driving east in a black Chevrolet pickup truck at a “high rate of speed” on N.C. 89 at about 2 p.m. He ran off the road to the right while rounding a left-hand curve.
Vaughn struck two highway markers prior to colliding with a tree. The vehicle continued traveling along the shoulder and hit a second tree. Beck says the truck then spun around and collided with a third tree before coming to rest on the shoulder of the road and catching fire.
Beck said the occupants were pinned inside as the vehicle burned. The fire had already been extinguished by Francisco and Westfield volunteer firefighters by the time he arrived.
Vaughn was wearing his seat belt, but his passenger, 53-year-old Roger Wilson, of the same residence, was not. Both died at the scene.
The North Carolina Highway Patrol reported that one person suffered fatal personal injuries after a small passenger vehicle collided with a bridge abutment and caught fire on Interstate 95 in Cumberland County on the morning of July 6.
After the collision, the vehicle came to rest under the Sunnyside School Road bridge, which is located between exits 52 and 49 on I-95. The engine was lying a distance of about 20 feet away from the vehicle. Both the engine and the vehicle were burnt beyond recognition.
Further information about the accident was not immediately released.
The North Carolina Highway Patrol identified the man who suffered fatal personal injuries in a fiery crash on Interstate 95 at the Sunnyside School Road overpass on July 6 as an employee of the New York state prison system.
The man driving the four-door Chevrolet car that collided with a bridge support around 9:30 a.m. was identified as 32-year-old Elmont, New York resident Steve Moline, according to investigating Trooper C.T. Walker. He was southbound when the vehicle ran off the road to the left , came back across the road, crossed both southbound lanes, and went up the concrete embankment under the bridge before hitting a concrete support pillar.
The impact caused the engine block to be knocked out of the vehicle and broke the right front axle off. The vehicle burst into flames upon impact.
Walker said that several drivers who witnessed the accident stopped and were able to extract Moline from the vehicle, which was still burning upon the arrival of the Vander Fire Department. However, Moline died on impact.
Walker said that speed was a factor, as Moline was traveling at an estimated rate of nearly 100 mph.
A trucker from North Carolina suffered fatal personal injuries in a fiery accident on the morning of June 17 in Jefferson County, Tennessee that resulted in westbound Interstate 40 being closed for more than six hours.
According to Tennessee Highway Patrol Trooper Mark Self, 68-year-old Leicester, N.C. resident Donald Wayne Sluder was killed in the crash, which took place around 2:30 a.m.
Sluder was transporting a load of plastic pipe in a trailer pulled by a 2001 Volvo tractor when he ran off the road to the right and struck a guardrail.
The tractor-trailer continued heading west, colliding with a pillar for an overpass. The impact resulted in the tractor and trailer separating. The tractor continued to travel westbound, caught fire, and eventually came to rest in both westbound lanes. Sluder was trapped inside, according to Self’s report.
Self said that Sluder was wearing his seat belt, but due to the violent impact, it made no difference.
A hazardous materials team from Norfolk Southern is working to contain a diesel fuel spill from a locomotive of a passenger train that derailed in Mebane on the morning of May 13 after a collision with a low-boy tractor-trailer rig that hung up on a sloped crossing, resulting in personal injuries.
According to Alamance County Fire Marshal David Leonard, the Amtrak Piedmont No. 73 train departed from Raleigh on the morning of the accident with 1,900 gallons of fuel and the hazmat team had siphoned out 500 gallons from the locomotive. A fire that broke out consumed some of the fuel, but authorities remain uncertain of the amount of fuel remaining in the locomotive’s tanks and on the ground.
The accident occurred shortly after 8 a.m. at the 5th Street grade crossing in Mebane. The train was traveling from Raleigh to Charlotte and was carrying 36 passengers. The impact caused the locomotive to derail and catch fire. One coach car also caught fire.
Twelve passengers and one crew member from the train were injured in the accident and received transport to three different local hospitals: Alamance Regional Medical Center, Duke University Hospital and the University of North Carolina Hospital.
The uninjured train passengers were given bus transport to their destinations.
According to North Carolina rail officials, the truck’s driver ignored posted signs warning against driving a long truck across the humped crossing.
The crash was the seventh to take place at the Fifth Street crossing since 1978, only one of which resulted in a fatality. In that crash, which occurred on February 12, 2005, a 78-year-old woman in a car struck by an Amtrak train was killed.
A driver and his passenger suffered fatal personal injuries when the vehicle they were in, which was traveling at an estimated rate of speed of more than 100 mph, ran off Powell Farm Road in Lillington, collided with a tree, and burst into flames, according to the North Carolina Highway Patrol.
Trooper Greg Steffens said that the crash occurred at around 11 p.m., approximately 12 miles south of Lillington.
According to Steffens, the driver was 44-year-old Lillington resident Kenneth Parchman. His passenger was 35-year-old Cameron resident Lisa Marie Timmerman. Both were pronounced dead at the scene.
On the evening of March 24, a man from Warrenton suffered fatal personal injuries when his car slammed into a tree near Norlina before catching fire, said authorities.
According to Sgt. David Henderson of the North Carolina Highway Patrol, 23-year-old Cary Alonzo Greene was driving south on U.S. Highway 1 near the Weldon Road intersection just before 6:30 p.m. when his car crossed the center line and ran off the left side of the road. He then overcorrected and his car ran off the right side of the road, struck several mailboxes, and collided with a tree.
Henderson said the impact with the tree caused the vehicle to split in two and catch fire. Greene died at the scene.
Henderson said that Greene was traveling at an estimated rate of speed of more than 100 mph in a 45 mph zone. He said that it is not known if alcohol was a factor.
One person has died and four others have suffered personal injuries after an early morning fire at an apartment complex in Wilmington.
The fire began at approximately 3 a.m. on January 2 at Cypress Pointe Apartment Homes, a complex located near the campus of the University of North Carolina at Wilmington.
Authorities have not released the name of the deceased or the conditions of the four people who required hospitalization.
It is currently unclear if any students were involved. Spring classes begin January 4.
Four apartments were destroyed in the fire and all 16 units in the building were damaged. Firefighters took 30 minutes to get the blaze under control.
On the afternoon of December 9, a fire broke out an assisted living facility in Raeford, resulting in dozens of residents being forced out, and some being sent to the hospital with personal injuries.
Fire Marshall Freddy Johnson said the fire took place at approximately 2:30 p.m. at Raeford Manor.
According to officials, seven residents received transport to Cape Fear Valley Medical Center and seven others received transport to Moore Regional Hospital. The majority of the patients went to the hospital for minor smoke inhalation or other health reasons.
The remaining 47 residents had to be relocated by authorities to another facility. The ages of the patients range between 30 and 90-years-old.
Police say the operational aspect of the assisted living home was destroyed by the fire, but further details have yet to be released.
The cause of the fire remains under investigation.
A firefighter in Durham suffered personal injuries on the morning of November 19 when the floor in a building in which he was fighting a fire collapsed from under him.
At approximately 6 a.m., firefighters responded to a call at Royal Oaks Apartments on Mayfair Street. The fire had begun on the first floor before spreading to the basement and second floor.
According to Assistant Chief Dan Curia, a portion of the first floor gave way as two firefighters were fighting the blaze. One firefighter, whose name was not released, suffered an injury to his knee.
Since 2004, five other fires have broken out at the apartment complex, including two in the same building as the November 19 fire.
Fire officials plan to search for things the fires have in common and speak with the complex’s management, according to Curia.
According to police, a man died of the personal injuries he suffered due to a faulty propane heating system causing an explosion and fire at a house in Fayetteville on October 17.
Upon the police’s arrival at the scene at approximately 3:30 a.m., the house had been fully engulfed in flames. Upon entering the house, firefighters discovered the man’s body.
According to police, the man suffered severe burns.
Officers are waiting on an autopsy to confirm the identity of the man.
As of the night of August 22, two children were in critical condition from the personal injuries they suffered in a fire at their home in Garner at approximately 1:30 a.m. that same day.
On the day of the incident, 3-year-old Michael Smith and 2-year-old Jasmine Smith were in an upstairs bedroom in their home on Timber Driver when firefighters responded to a 911 call from one of their neighbors shortly after 1:30 a.m., according to Capt. Matt Poole of the Garner Fire and Rescue Department.
Poole was one of three Garner firefighters who helped rescue the unconscious children.
Poole said the fire blocked 29-year-old Thomas E. Smith, the children’s father, from getting upstairs to the children. He did not suffer any injuries in the fire.
The children received transport to the Jaycee Burn Center at UNC Hospitals in Chapel Hill, where they were being treated later that evening. According to UNC Hospitals spokesman Clinton Colmenares, the children suffered burns to 20 percent of their bodies.
According to Garner Police Lt. Chris Hagwood, Wake County fire officials ruled the fire to be accidental and said it started in the kitchen.
According to fire inspectors in Smithfield, an August 12 fire in which a man died of the personal injuries he suffered has been ruled an accident.
According to Smithfield Fire Marshall Paul Whitehurst, a pot left on a stove at a residence on Martin Luther King Drive Smith resulted in a fire in which 49-year-old Quincy Smith died.
Smith, a visitor at the home, initially escaped the fire, but reentered the building in an attempt to extinguish it, according to Whitehurst.
Authorities say there were four to five others inside the home at the time of the fire, but they all escaped unharmed.
According to Raleigh police, at approximately midnight on July 2, two bystanders were able to rescue a Fort Bragg soldier from a flaming vehicle after a serious crash on New Bern Avenue.
The soldier, 19-year-old Palmerville, Massachusetts resident John Michael Dean, suffered serious personal injuries in the crash and required transport to WakeMed, where he is expected to undergo surgery, according to police.
Police say Dean and a comrade were scheduled to fly out of Raleigh-Durham International Airport on July 3 to begin a deployment.
Police say that earlier on the night of the crash, Dean had apparently been drinking with some friends near City Limits Saloon before leaving in a 2004 Volkswagen. He was westbound at a high rate of speed on New Bern Avenue before losing control as he approached a curve near the split with Edenton Street.
Dean crossed a concrete median to the left before colliding with a stone wall. The car eventually came to rest in a vertical position between two trees. Two bystanders, whose identities have not been confirmed, pulled him from the flaming wreckage.
Police say Dean will be charged with DWI, provisional DWI (because he is under the legal drinking age), careless and reckless driving, and a seat belt violation.
Four people required transport to WakeMed for the personal injuries they suffered in a fiery two-car crash in the Kennebec area near Angier on July 1 at approximately 5:30 p.m. near the intersection of N.C. 55 and Maude Stewart Road.
Fuquay-Varina resident Tim Hall, who witnessed the crash, said that a Ford Explorer quickly engulfed in flames after a collision with a Saturn van.
According to Fuquay-Varina Battalion Fire Chief B. Whitley, by the time firefighters arrived, the SUV was “fully involved in fire.”
Details about the names of the victims and the cause of the accident have yet to be released. Wake County Highway Patrolman I.J. Cooper is investigating the crash.
On June 23, a woman from Fayetteville died of the personal injuries she suffered when her SUV collided head-on with a bridge support on Interstate 95.
According to Trooper Greg Steffens of the North Carolina Highway Patrol, 30-year-old Elvia Willison was southbound in a Toyota Sequoia at approximately 5 p.m. when she ran off the road and collided with the bridge, causing the vehicle to burst into flames.
Steffens said Willison died on impact.
No other serious injuries were reported, but Cumberland County sheriff’s deputies had to close the bridge to traffic for several hours.
Steffens said the crash remains under investigation, but it doesn’t seem that the SUV tried to slow down.
Steffens said the bridge was inspected by engineers from the Department of Transportation, who said it was undamaged in the crash and was structurally sound.
Tenants who suffered personal injuries in an apartment explosion two years ago and the administrator of a deceased tenant’s estate are seeking declaratory judgment against an insurance company.
According to the suit filed in Illinois’ St. Clair County Circuit Court on May 13 by Michael Stifle, Roger Osborn, and Tammy Wood, on behalf of Harry Yargus, Church Mutual Insurance Co. has refused to provide liability coverage for an incident that occurred at an apartment building on May 29, 2007.
The suit says that a gas explosion and subsequent fire occurred at the apartment building. Stifle and Osborn suffered injuries in the incident and have pending injury suits in Crawford County. Yargus died in the incident and Wood, on his behalf, has a pending case in St. Clair County.
According to the plaintiffs, the insurance company has two liability policies, each with limits of $1 million.
The suit has also named Five Star Management, A.J. Mason, Inc. and Rena Smith, the property manager, as defendants.
The suit claims the insurance company is contractually obligated to indemnify the other defendants in their capacities of maintaining and managing the building.