Churches in North Carolina often use vans to transport parishioners, youth groups and church staff to activities at other churches and religious organizations. Such trips are generally safe for all concerned, but occasionally, other drivers create unexpected hazards. On May 28, a church-owned van was carrying a number of parishioners to a revival meeting at another church. The van was turning into the church drive way when a Ford F-450 truck rear-ended it. The results of the collision were calamitous.
As mentioned, the van was turning into the church driveway when it was struck by a large pickup truck pulling a trailer loaded with metal. The van overturned several times before it finally came to rest on its side. The truck and trailer swerved to the side of the road and struck a guardrail.
State police said the van was carrying 11 people. Four passengers died at the scene. Another three were flown by helicopter to VCU Medical Center with life-threatening injuries. Four others were taken to nearby hospitals with serious injuries. The driver of the truck suffered only minor injuries, although he too was hospitalized. The driver of the pickup was charged with reckless driving.
Liability for this accident cannot be completely determined until the ownership of the truck and the status of the driver is established. Also, the question of whether the van had working tail and brake lights will also bear upon the degree of fault that will be assigned to the truck driver and the truck owner. Anyone who has been injured or lost a loved one in a multi-vehicle accident will want to consult an experienced personal injury attorney for an evaluation of the evidence and an estimate of the likelihood of recovering damages for medical expenses, lost income and pain and suffering.