There are few tragedies that are as heart-wrenching as the loss of life for a woman about to give birth and the loss of her unborn child. When a pregnant woman’s child dies after a murder or accident that ends her life, the unborn child’s loss of life is viewed by the law as a crime as well. Earlier this week, a man was arrested for allegedly causing the death of his pregnant wife and the loss of their unborn child. As the accused remained in a Gwinnett County jail, authorities were seeking information about the man’s immigration status. He has been charged with several Georgia crimes, including the death of a fetus and second-degree vehicular homicide. These crimes are found in our Official Code of Georgia Annotated section 40-6-393.1 and Official Code of Georgia Annotated section 40-6-393, respectively.
The accident is apparently of the type we have discussed in the past, a left turn crash involving an oncoming vehicle. The accused man allegedly turned left in front of an oncoming vehicle. The man’s young wife and unborn child were in the passenger seat and were struck on the impact of the accident. Another passenger in the car was also hurt, but not fatally. The other driver was driving without a license and was cited for this, but the arrest fell upon the deceased woman’s husband and the father of her unborn child.
A failure to yield to oncoming traffic when making a left turn is a common cause of intersection crashes both within Atlanta and in surrounding communities. This type of crash can be deadly as we have seen in the case involving the recent accident in Gwinnett County. When a driver is attempting to make a left turn, it is necessary that he or she ensure that the turn can be made without colliding into an oncoming vehicle. Of course, there can be mitigating factors such as the excessive speed of the oncoming vehicle or if the party making the left turn is already within the intersection and nearly completing the turn, but the oncoming vehicle speeds up and hits the turning vehicle.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says that statistically these accidents are generally likely to occur at stop signs or at left turn intersections. These accidents can also occur when we are entering a highway or driving through a cross walk. NHTSA has studied fatal crashes both in controlled intersections and those where there are no controls, such as traffic lights or stop signs. Intersection crashes have accounted for nearly 20 percent of all fatal crashes. And on an annual basis in a recent study it was determined that over 80 percent of intersection crashes that resulted in a fatality, were at traffic signals and that percentage was up to 85 percent for stop sign intersections.
There is no doubt that when drivers are entering an intersection, the risk of accident or injury goes up, especially when other traffic is in the area. The way to avoid this type of crash is to drive defensively and make a left turn only when it is clearly safe to do so. When in doubt, do not make the turn. It is far better to wait for the next opportunity, rather than to end up in a crash that causes serious injury or death.
When an accident occurs, those injured can be overwhelmed with medical expenses and with concerns about whether someone is responsible for causing their injuries. To determine this, it is helpful to consult with an experienced and compassionate lawyer. Charles Scholle is an Atlanta area lawyer with two decades of experience helping those who have been injured in a crash of any kind, including an intersection crash that was caused by another driver. Please contact Attorney Scholle for a free consultation.