Driver Wendy Stoltz Ellender of Kernersville and her passenger Lori Ann Hawks of Rural Hall suffered serious and critical injuries after a head-on collision.
Police investigating the accident said Ellender and Hawks were properly travelling north on U.S. Highway 52 when Benjamin Todd Turpin of Denton collided head-on with them.
Mr. Turpin was travelling SOUTH in the northbound lane. Mr. Turpin died at the scene.
The time of the accident was 2:30 a.m. Sunday morning (Saturday night). Police are investigating whether speed or alcohol (DWI) contributed to Mr. Turpin’s driving.
Based on the reports, Mr. Turpin was negligent at least of driving the wrong direction on the highway. In addition, a strong argument exists that he drove a vehicle upon a public vehicular area carelessly and heedlessly in willful and wanton disregard of the rights or safety of others, which displayed a thoughtless disregard of the consequences of said driving, in violation of N.C.G.S. 20-140(a). A finding that Mr. Turpin was above the legal limit with alcohol would be strong evidence of gross negligence. Gross negligence could open the door to punitive damages.
Ms. Ellender & Ms. Hawks appear to have strong personal injury claims against the estate of Mr. Turpin and his insurance carrier.
With hope, Ms. Ellender and Ms. Hawks will survive and fully recover from their injuries.