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Two North Carolina drivers accused of DWI after fatal car and ATV accident

Two North Carolina men are facing charges for allegedly driving while impaired after an accident between an all terrain vehicle and a Ford sedan left one person dead early Tuesday morning. The North Carolina Highway Patrol says that the accident occurred shortly after 12:30 a.m. on New Year's Day.

Authorities believe that a 39-year-old Fairmont, North Carolina man was driving an ATV on a road about two miles northwest of Lumberton, North Carolina. Troopers claim that the taillights on the ATV were not working. Law enforcement says that a 25-year-old Fairmont resident was riding as a passenger on the ATV.

Police believe that the ATV was traveling about 35 miles per hour when a 52-year-old Lumberton resident approached the ATV from behind traveling about 60 miles per hour. The Ford reportedly slammed into the ATV, pushing the recreational vehicle across lanes before the ATV rolled into the ditch. Both the driver and passenger of the recreational vehicle were thrown from the ATV.

The ATV passenger was killed in the Robeson County, North Carolina accident. The driver suffered injuries and was taken to an area hospital for treatment. Law enforcement says that the driver of the Ford was also transported to the hospital, although it is unclear whether the driver of the car suffered any injuries.

Law enforcement says that the driver of the car tested 0.07 percent blood alcohol concentration after the wreck. A police report released to the media did not indicate whether authorities have a blood alcohol measurement from the ATV driver, according to the Robesonian.

North Carolina state troopers believe that both drivers were impaired at the time of the fatal crash. Both men are accused of DWI, but authorities say that additional charges remain pending.

Generally, most North Carolina drivers may be aware that the legal limit to drive in the state is set a 0.08 percent BAC. However, North Carolina law allows two different avenues for bringing DWI charges against drivers. The 0.08 percent BAC threshold (or 0.04 percent for people who hold a commercial driver's license) is the level where the law presumes impairment, often referred to as the per se DWI level. The law allows law enforcement to suspect impairment at readings below the per se level, based upon other observations and evidence of alleged impairment.

Sources:

  • The Robesonian, "Alcohol cited in deadly accident," Jan. 2, 2013
  • The Fayetteville Observer, "One dead, two drivers charged with DWI in fatal crash in Robeson County," Nancy McCleary, Jan. 3, 2013
  • Our firm provides criminal defense for drivers accused of alcohol-related offenses or DWI charges in the Pitt County, North Carolina area. For more information on the firm, please visit the Greenville DWI and drug defense lawyer page.

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