November 2008

Former News Anchor Tolly Carr Settles North Carolina Wrongful Death Lawsuit with Family of Man Killed in Drunk Driving Accident

November 24, 2008, by Michael A. DeMayo

In North Carolina, former WXII News anchor Tolly Car has settled a wrongful death lawsuit with the family of the man he fatally struck during a 2007 drunk driving accident in Winston-Salem. Carr is currently serving a 25 – 29 month prison sentence for his role in the deadly motor vehicle crash.

Police say Carr drove his pickup truck through a construction zone before running his car off the road and striking Casey Bokhoven in March 2007. In August 2007, Carr pleaded guilty to felony serious injury by vehicle, felony death by vehicle, and driving while impaired.

Carr, whose blood was tested four hours after the accident, had a blood alcohol level of .13. North Carolina’s legal BAC limit for driving is .08. In their wrongful death lawsuit, the plaintiffs accused the former news anchor of trying to conceal his actions by telling witnesses not to call police.

The terms of the wrongful death settlement with Bokhoven’s family are confidential. However, their wrongful death lawyer says Carr will start making payments to the family in 2010.

Also named as defendants in the wrongful death lawsuit are three Winston-Salem bars. The plaintiffs accused the establishments of serving the former news anchor about 17 drinks. Their wrongful death lawyer says that bar employees should have stopped serving Carr more alcohol or made him get into a cab.

The Burke Street Pub reached a wrongful death settlement with Bokhoven’s family last week. Another bar, 6th and Vine, settled with the family in August. The third establishment, Sounds on Burke, has filed for bankruptcy.

Tolly Carr Settles Wrongful-Death Lawsuit, MSNBC.com, November 18, 2008

Bokhoven Family Files Wrongful Death Lawsuit Against Tolly Carr, MyFox.com, May 21, 2007

Related Web Resources:
Tolly Carr Pleads Guilty, Sentenced To Prison, Digitriad.com, August 13, 2007

WXII

3 North Carolina Hospital Workers Fired for Neglect of Mental Patient Who Was Left in Chair Without Being Fed For Nearly 24 Hours

November 20, 2008, by Michael A. DeMayo

In North Carolina, officials have fired three workers at the Cherry Hospital in Goldsboro over the death of a 50-year-old mental patient. Roanoke Rapids resident Steven H. Sabock’s death made the headlines earlier this year because of surveillance footage showing hospital workers neglecting him for almost 24 hours while he sat slumped in a chair.

According to a report filed by the hospital’s nursing director, workers checked his vitals during this time period. However, the video does not show this happening. Instead, hospital workers are seen watching TV and playing cards. Sabock, who was suffering from a bipolar disorder, was also seen falling and striking his head. He also choked on his medication.

The surveillance footage also shows Sabock being taken away by paramedics. He died soon after. According to the North Carolina medical examiner’s office, Sabock’s cause of death was a pre-existing heart condition. Autopsy reports,however, indicate that there was fluid in his brain, which could be a sign of a brain injury. A federal report also states that the 50-year-old patient appeared to not have eaten much food in the three days leading up to his death.

Following Sabock’s death, a number of Cherry Hospital workers were disciplined over the incident, and the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services closed the ward.

Medicaid and Medicare withdrew $800,000 a month in reimbursements from the North Carolina hospital. In August, the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation began a criminal probe into Sabock’s death.

This is not the only reported incident of abuse or neglect this year at Cherry Hospital. In August, two of its hospital workers were arrested for allegedly beating a patient. Earlier in the year, three other employees were also arrested and charged with assault crimes.

Unfortunately, patient abuse or neglect by hospital staffers and nursing home workers happens way too often in the United States. It is the hospital patients and nursing home residents who suffer when abuse or neglect leads to personal injury, deteriorating health, or wrongful death.

Three Employees Fired After Patient Chokes on Medicine, Dies, Foxnews.com, November 20, 2008

Patient appears neglected in hours before his death, WRAL.com, November 18, 2008

Related Web Resources:

Cherry Hospital

North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services

12-Year-Old North Carolina Boy is in Critical Condition Following Greensboro Drunk Driver Accident

November 17, 2008, by Michael A. DeMayo

In North Carolina, a 12-year-old Greensboro boy is in critical but stable condition after a drunk driver hit him last Tuesday afternoon. Drew Gardner and Taylor Rhynehardt were playing near a creek bed when a van, driven by Michael Charles Parks, rolled through a stop sign and drove through 40 yards of wood before striking Gardner and then crashing into a tree.

Gardner, who is at Baptist Hospital in Winston-Salem, sustained two collapsed lungs, eight fractured ribs, a broken collarbone, and skull fractures. He has been sedated and unconscious a majority of the time since the North Carolina auto accident.

Rhynehardt, who was not hit by the van, sustained less serious physical injuries when the tree broke and fell on him. However, he told a local TV news program last week that he has not been able to close his eyes without reliving the accident.

Greensboro police have charged Parks with driving with a revoked license and driving while impaired. They say more charges are likely. However, the 40-year-old has not been arrested for his involvement in the crash.

This is not Parks’s first DWI offense. He has one prior DWI conviction, while two other DWI charges that were dismissed.

NHTSA 2007 Children and Traffic Accident Facts
• 200,000 children, age 14 and under, were injured in motor vehicle crashes last year.
• 245 of the 1,670 kids in this age group were injured in drunk driving accidents.
• 306 children, age 14 and under, died in pedestrian accidents in 2007.
• 14,000 kids sustained pedestrian-related injuries.
• In North Carolina, 54 child pedestrians, age 14 and younger, died in traffic accidents.

If your son or daughter was seriously injured in a North Carolina or South Carolina traffic accident, you and your family may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit against the negligent party.

Boy hit by van is critical but stable, News-Record.com, November 15, 2008

Other Boy Injured In DWI Crash Speaks Out, Digitriad.com, November 11, 2008

Children, 2007 Traffic Safety Facts, NHTSA

Related Web Resource:

2007 Traffic Safety Annual Assessment — Alcohol-Impaired Driving Fatalities, NHTSA, (PDF)

Speeding May Have Been the Cause of Deadly North Carolina Accident that Left Three People Dead and Another Person in Critical Condition

November 10, 2008, by Michael A. DeMayo

A deadly North Carolina motor vehicle crash that occurred outside Lillington on Tuesday afternoon at the intersection of Shady Grove Road and N.C. 210 has left three young people dead and one adult with serious injuries. According to State Highway Patrol, excessive speeding may have been the cause of the multi-vehicle crash.

Police say they believe that 20-year-old Sharon Southerland was driving her 2000 Lincoln at a speed of 90mph when she lost control of the vehicle, which crossed the center line and struck another vehicle headed in the opposite direction. A 2008 Ford passenger sedan, driven by Spring Lake resident Timothy Evan, drove into Southerland’s speeding Lincoln, while the car of Raleigh resident George Tracy, was struck by flying debris.

Southerland and her two passengers, Abraham Ryan Lowe, 18, and Ashley Williams Richardt, 21, died from injuries they sustained in the crash. Lowe and Richardt were siblings. Evan was taken to Cape Fear Valley Medical Center with serious injuries. Tracy was not injured in the auto crash.

According to the NC State Highway Patrol, the Lincoln was moving at such a fast speed that it split in half upon impact. Southerland and Richardt, who were sitting in the front of the car, were ejected from their seats.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in 2005:

• Over 13,000 people died in the US in speeding-related motor vehicle crashes.
• Speeding was a contributing cause in 30% of all deadly crashes in the US that year.
• 86% of all speeding-related traffic deaths happened on non-interstate roads where the speed limits were no more than 55 mph.
• 28% of all deadly accidents that took place on dry roads involved speeding.
• Speeding was a contributing cause in 33% of fatal traffic accidents that took place on wet roads.

Mother Of Crash Victims Warns Others To Slow Down, Dunn Daily Record, November 6, 2008

NHTSA Speed Campaign Tool Kit

Related Web Resources:

North Carolina Department of Transportation

Speeding, SafeRoads.org

Michelle Young's Mother Files North Carolina Wrongful Death Lawsuit Against Her Son-In-Law

November 7, 2008, by Michael A. DeMayo

In North Carolina, the mother of a pregnant Wake County woman who was murdered in her house two years ago is suing her daughter’s husband for wrongful death. Michelle Young’s body was discovered in a pool of blood in her Raleigh home on November 3, 2006. Her two-year-old daughter, found by her side, was unharmed.

Police say there were footprints around Michelle’s body. Her daughter made one set of footprints, while other footprints could have belonged to two kinds of shoes that belonged to Michelle’s husband Jason.

Jason maintains that he was not in town on the night that Michelle was murdered, and police say there is video footage showing him leave a hotel in Virginia. Although police are investigating him in connection to her murder, no arrest has been made.

Now, Michelle’s mother, Linda Lee Fisher, wants the Wake Superior Court to say that Jason either killed Michelle or was an accessory to her murder. Fisher also wants Young barred from receiving any assets from her estate as well as her insurance benefits. Fisher is seeking a minimum $10,000 for her daughter’s wrongful death.

According to documents that were made public yesterday, detectives have found records from Jason’s computer indicating that Internet searches were made on the subject of “head trauma knockouts” right before his wife was killed by a violent blow to the head. He was also having an affair and communicated with his lover numerous times on the day Michelle died. Police say that after they told Jason that his wife’s body had been discovered, he refused to come home and did not enquire about his wife’s cause of death or his daughter’s well-being.

In North Carolina, victims of violent crimes are entitled to seek personal injury and wrongful death compensation in civil court. These cases are separate from any criminal proceedings being pursued against criminal suspects or defendants.

Suit claims husband killed Michelle Young, News and Observer, November 4, 2008

Jason Young researched ‘knockout’, News and Observer, November 7, 2008

Related Web Resources:

Young, Pregnant Mother Slain At Home, CBS News, November 13, 2006

Warrants in the Young Murder Investigation (PDF)

Family of 18-Year-Old Shot by Police During 2006 Home Raid Sues University of North Carolina Wilmington for Wrongful Death

November 2, 2008, by Michael A. DeMayo

The family of 18-year-old Peyton Strickland is suing the University of North Carolina Wilmington and its police department for his wrongful death. Peyton died in December 2006 when he was shot through the door of his rental residence by armed police officers who arrived at his home after they received inaccurate information about him.

According to the North Carolina wrongful death lawsuit, filed with the state’s Industrial Commission, the Strickland family is accusing the defendants of conducting an investigation that was messy, hurried, and “overzealous.” The New Hanover Sheriff’s SWAT team was even asked to participate in the “extraordinarily dangerous” search at Peyton’s home.

In 2006, the UNCW police filed a search warrant application to search Peyton’s home in Wilmington. Peyton, a community college student, was one of the suspects in the beating and robbery case involving victim Justin Raines, a UNCW student. Two Playstation 3’s were reportedly stolen from Raines and police went to Peyton’s home to search for guns and one of the stolen video game systems.

According to New Hanover County Sheriff’s Deputy Christopher Long, he thought he heard gunshots coming from inside the home. However, what he actually heard was the sound of a police battering ram. Long shot Peyton, who was unarmed. The teenager sustained bullet wounds to the brain and chest. He died from his injuries. Police also shot and killed Blaze, Peyton’s dog. The door to the teenager’s home reportedly wasn’t even locked when the raid happened.

The Strickland family contends that there were numerous errors in the complaint that caused deputies that went on the raid to think that their lives could be in danger. UNC police reportedly told the New Hanover deputies that Strickland was a gang member—information that his family disputes. The warrant also erroneously reported that two people had assaulted Raines. The UNCW student had told police he was attacked by one person.

In February, New Hanover County and its sheriff’s office reached a North Carolina wrongful death settlement with the Strickland family for $2.45 million.

Family of teen killed by deputy sues UNC-W, police, News-Record, October 31, 2008

Family sues UNCW in son’s death, Trading Markets, November 1, 2008

Related Web Resources:

How raid went wrong and young suspect died, News and Observer, December 17, 2006

University of North Carolina Wilmington

University Police, UNCW

 
 

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