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Rick Shapiro
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Tragic Accident on U.S. 701 in Columbus County Is a Stark Reminder of Exercising Caution on Busy Roads

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An awful wreck occurred on U.S. 701 in Columbus County, North Carolina (NC) claiming the lives of two children and an elderly man. They were the victims in a three-car accident near Whiteville.

A 17-year-old driver was traveling on U.S. 701 when he tried to illegally pass a vehicle near the intersection of Gaston Sellers Road and U.S. 701. Oncoming traffic forced him back into his lane causing him to hit the car in front of him. The car in front of him was a 2000 Saab driven by James Brown, according to ABC 3 News.

The collision caused Mr. Brown to lose control of his vehicle resulting in a head-on collision with a 2004 Kia Spectrum driven by Savanah Robledo. Mrs. Robledo’s daughter, along with Mrs. Robledo’s two sisters, were in the vehicle when the crash occurred. Tragically, Mrs. Robledo’s daughter and one of her sisters died as a result of this terrible wreck.

My deepest condolences go out to the Robledo family and Brown family. Losing someone you love is always heartbreaking, but the pain is made even worse when the loss is sudden and completely unexpected. It also has to be infuriating to know that this wreck probably could have been prevented, if only the teenage driver exercised more caution and did not try to illegally pass another vehicle.  As a result of his reckless behavior, innocent lives (including a young child) were taken.

The teenage driver was charged with three counts of misdemeanor death by motor vehicle, driving left of center and driving without a license.

This gut-wrenching accident is a stark reminder that caution and vigilance must be exercised while trying to switch lanes on a busy road or highway. One mistake, as illustrated in this accident, can have life-altering consequences.


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  1. Mary Moore Smith says:
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    Mr. Shapiro. My deepest condolences go out to the Robledo family as well as Mr. Brown’s family.
    I am writing to ask why you did not express your condolences to the Brown family. This man was killed as well because of this young man’s carelessness. Please answer my question.

    Mary Moore Smith
    Orlando, FL