LENOIR COUNTY, North Carolina — Shannon Sutton, a 45-year-old Kinston woman, died Dec. 7 after a logging truck reportedly ran a stop sign at the intersection of Central Avenue and Camelia Street.
At about 7 a.m. Tuesday, 25-year-old Baron McNeil allegedly ran through the stop sign in an unloaded logging truck and struck Sutton’s passenger vehicle, according to a local news report.
Sutton was pronounced dead at the scene. First responders transported the other occupant of the vehicle, 65-year-old Bernice Jernigan, to Vidant Medical Center in Greenville with serious injuries.
McNeil was traveling at 35 to 45 mph when he ran the stop sign and made no attempt to brake, according to officials with the North Carolina Highway Patrol (NCHP). He suffered minor injuries and was transported to UNC Lenoir Health Care in Kinston.
McNeil told authorities that he could not recall whether he saw the passenger vehicle that he struck. Authorities said a home on the corner lot of the intersection created a vision obstruction for both parties involved in the crash.
McNeil is expected to recover from his injuries, and will be charged with misdemeanor death by motor vehicle and failure to yield at a stop sign, according to the NCHP.
Commentary on Shannon Sutton’s fatal accident with a logging truck
In my 30 years of practice as a personal injury attorney, I have handled hundreds of accidents that were very similar to this one. Nevertheless, I am still alarmed when I read of another individual whose life has been cut short due to a driver running a stop sign. Ms. Sutton had potentially decades of life left to enjoy. I am deeply saddened to learn that those years were taken away from her.
In this case, an unloaded log truck ran a stop sign and crashed into Ms. Sutton’s vehicle, killing her onsite, and injuring her passenger, Ms. Jernigan.
When a driver obtains a license to operate a vehicle on one of our nation’s highways, he or she accepts, not only the associated privileges, but also the associated responsibilities that attend that license. Perhaps the most serious responsibility that attends a driver’s license is the duty of care to drive safely and responsibly so as not to cause injury to body or to property of others. Drivers who fail to uphold this duty are said to be in breach of duty of care and may be held liable for compensatory damages for bodily injury, mental and emotional harm, property damages, and monetary loss. Running a stop sign is generally considered a breach of duty of care.
I extend my deepest sympathy to the loved ones of Ms. Sutton and hope for the full and speedy recovery of Ms. Jernigan.
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