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Rick Shapiro
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North Carolina Firefighter Struck and Killed by Drunk Driver

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A community and family are grieving after a Burke County, North Carolina firefighter was struck and killed by a pickup truck while he was cleaning up storm debris on the evening of Oct. 8 in Drexel, North Carolina. 

Fire department officials reported that two firefighters were cleaning up debris from the road on Highway 70 when a pickup truck going eastbound slammed into the firefighter at around midnight. The firefighter, Jason Hensley, 40, died upon impact.

On Oct. 11, the pickup driver – Randall Stewart – appeared in court, where he asked for an attorney. He has been charged with felony death by motor vehicle and driving under the influence of alcohol.

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The North Carolina Highway Patrol has stated that they are still waiting for the pickup driver’s blood test results from the night of the crash.

The fire department noted that the deceased firefighter was wearing a safety vest, turnout gear and the emergency lights on his vehicle were illuminated, and the emergency lights were illuminated on another patrol car and truck.

 

Our View

We as personal injury and wrongful death attorneys in North Carolina are always saddened to see drinking and driving accidents that lead to death and/or serious injury. The fact that this tragic car accident involved a first responder and firefighter is even more upsetting. From the description in the article, the firefighter had done everything right so that drivers could see him on the roadway. Unfortunately, it seems that a driver may have been drinking and driving and did not notice the work being performed on the road.

Our personal injury attorneys would like to stress that drinking alcohol and driving is extremely dangerous because it has effects on these skills: 

  • Reaction time: Drinking slows your reflexes
  • Vision: Drinking slows the function of the eye muscles, resulting in blurred vision and reduced ability to see at night
  • Tracking: Drinking reduces your ability to judge the position of the vehicle on the road
  • Concentration: Alcohol may reduce your ability to concentrate
  • Coordination: Alcohol can reduce your eye/hand/foot coordination

Drinking and driving is always a mistake, and if you cause an accident that hurts someone, the consequences are severe. Jail time is a near certainty, and our drunk driving and personal injury attorneys are proud to sue convicted drunk drivers in civil court. We reached a $100,000 settlement in a drunk driving case in Norfolk, Virginia where the DUI driver actually drove onto a sidewalk outside of a gym and hit our client. Fortunately, he was not killed, but he did suffer serious leg injuries that required several surgeries.