Runaway Tahoe Kills Two Pedestrians, Injures Ten Vehicle Passengers

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Five ambulances were at the scene of a fatal wreck on Highway 76 to transport victims to area hospitals.

The wreck occurred in Florence near the Quartz Lane intersection. According to police and witnesses, an SUV changed lanes unsafely and rear-ended a Civic. The Tahoe continued moving forward and smacked into a Maxima that was disabled on the median. The force of that impact propelled the Maxima into a Yukon and two pedestrians.

Those two pedestrians, 19-year-old Dylan Wyatt and 39-year-old Emily Wyatt, did not survive.

Pedestrian Injuries

During collisions, multiple restraint layers, such as seat belts and airbags, shield vehicle occupants from injury. But pedestrians have no such protection. They are completely exposed to danger. As a result, these victims often sustain serious or fatal injuries like:

  • Blood Loss: Exsanguination is usually the official cause of death in these accidents. Frequently, by the time emergency responders arrive, many victims are already on the edge of hypovolemic shock and organ shutdown.
  • Head Injuries: Either the trauma or the motion of a vehicle collision can cause a head injury. Landing on one’s head after a fall is like being hit with a hammer. And, the sudden, jarring motion of a crash causes the brain to slam against the inside of the skull.
  • Internal Wounds: These injuries produce much of the aforementioned blood loss. Since these organs have no protective skin layer, internal bleeding is usually hard to spot and hard to stop.

Speed and distance affect the severity of these injuries. According to Newton’s second law, speed multiplies the force in a collision between two objects. Furthermore, if the victim is farther away from a hospital, a few ticks of the clock could be the difference between life and death.

Rear-End Crashes

The injuries in pedestrian accidents are usually straightforward, but the legal issues are often complex. That’s especially true if, as in the above story, there was a rear-end crash. These crashes usually involve the last clear chance defense.

All drivers have a duty of reasonable case. They must always avoid accidents if possible. That could mean changing lanes to avoid an onrushing SUV. If the driver fails to do so, that driver could be legally responsible for the crash, even though the rear-ending driver was clearly “at fault.”

However, this defense only applies if the driver had the last clear chance to avoid a crash. That’s much different from any possible chance. Frequently, traffic and other conditions make sudden emergency maneuvers dangerous or impossible to perform. Additionally, these wrecks often happen so quickly that there is simply no time to react.

Car accidents often cause serious injuries. For a free consultation with an experienced personal injury attorney in Columbia, contact the Michael Jeffcoat Firm. We routinely handle matters in Richland County and nearby jurisdictions.

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