North Carolina pedestrian fatally injured leaving bachelor party

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Federal health officials reported nearly half – 47 percent – of the pedestrian fatalities in 2010 involved alcohol impairment. One-third of pedestrians involved in fatal motor vehicle accidents were legally drunk, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That indicates the majority of alcohol-related pedestrian deaths involved impaired or drunk drivers.

A North Carolina middle school employee traveled to a neighboring state to attend a friend's bachelor party. The 29-year-old was walking alongside another partygoer, as the men were leaving the last of the several bars the group visited that night. The pair was struck by a Honda CRV, which witnesses said swerved toward the pedestrians at up to 50 mph.

The North Carolina man later died from his injuries. The other pedestrian, also 29, was hospitalized for several days with a broken leg and facial injuries. Observers said the SUV took off fast.

An officer linked a description of the Honda with a traffic stop made the previous month. The SUV driver in that case passed an alcohol breath test, but was charged with refusing a blood test and marijuana possession. When police visited the man's home to discuss the fatal pedestrian accident, investigators noticed front-end damage on the Honda.

The 31-year-old man was arrested and charged with reckless homicide, leaving a crash scene involving great bodily injury and leaving a crash scene involving death. Bail was set at $800,000.

Investigators initially considered the hit-and-run accident was a hate crime, directed toward the African-American pedestrian who was injured. The defendant was seen in a bar, where another patron made racially-motivated comments to the groomsman. Authorities later said the two incidents were not connected.

Drugged and drunk drivers care nothing about their own safety or the safety of others. Reckless drivers are tried and punished in criminal courts. Separately, civil claims for compensation may be filed by personal injury and wrongful death victims.

Source: The Post and Courier, " Loved ones, deputies struggle to sort out events before Folly Beach hit-and-run death" Andrew Knapp, Sep. 07, 2014