01172017Headline:

Greenville, OBX & Rocky Mount, North Carolina

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Drunk Driver Runs Red Light; Kills Elderly Kinston Woman

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8A 76-year-old Kinston woman was killed after a drunk driver ran a red light and slammed into the car the victim was driving. The elderly woman died at the scene of the crash and a child who was in the car with her was transferred to UNC Lenoir and Vidant Medical Center and later released.

According to police, at approximately 9:30 last Friday night, the other driver, a 27-year-old Greenville man, was driving a 2009 Chevrolet Silverado east on U.S. 70 when he drove through a red light at the intersection at U.S. 258 near the Visitors Center in Kinston. The victim was making a left-hand turn onto U.S. 70 from U.S. 258 South when the other driver crashed into her 2016 Toyota Avalon.

Both vehicles were heavily damaged. The driver who ran the red light was not injured in the accident and was arrested at the scene of the deadly crash. He has been charged with driving while impaired as well as aggravated felony death by motor vehicle. A golden retriever that was in his car was taken to the Lenoir County SPCA for safe keeping.

In addition to the criminal charges and possible penalties the driver faces if convicted, he also may be liable for civil penalties to the family of the woman who was killed. North Carolina law allows families of people who are killed by drunk drivers to sue the driver to recover damages for the heavy financial burdens they may now be facing, such as funeral and burial expenses and medical treatment expenses. Families are also allowed to seek damages for the pain and suffering the drunk driver has caused the victim and family.

North Carolina law also allows victims and their families to seek punitive damages against the drunk driver if the driver’s blood alcohol content (BAC) level was high or if the driver’s actions were malicious, wanton, or willful. It is also important to note that the law does not have a cap on punitive damages which can be awarded to victims of impaired drivers in personal injury or wrongful death lawsuits.