Gwinnett County was the scene of a tragic car accident on 1-85 earlier this week. Dee Dowis, a Georgia native, respected NCAA player and Heisman Trophy finalist, lost his life when, in the early morning hours Monday, his vehicle was hit by another car. For some reason, he had pulled his vehicle into the center median and was driving in reverse, perhaps trying to move off the median. His car was then hit by a driver traveling in the opposite direction and lost his life at the scene of the accident. That driver was taken to the hospital, but apparently survived the impact to his vehicle. At this time there are no reports as to why Dowis’ vehicle had entered the median strip. And it is unlikely that the other driver will be charged by authorities for the accident as he was apparently driving in his lane of traffic when this tragedy occurred.
Dowis’ former coach had glowing words for a man who was sixth in the Heisman Trophy vote in his final year in college. The AJC reported that in recent years, this college star had been working as a pharmaceutical representative and was said by many to be beloved as a person and respected as a player. ESPN reported on his stellar career. As a quarterback he set a record for rushing yards that wasn’t touched for over a decade. As a gifted player, he also set many records in his senior year for passing, completions and rushing. Several coaches around the country not only praised his accomplishments on the playing field, they also praised his accomplishments in life. Calling him humble and kind, his loss is felt by his community and beyond.
What is the lesson of this very sad Georgia car accident? The National Safety Council (NSC) states that a preventable collision is one in which a driver does not take all steps possible to avoid it. The NSC provides defensive driving courses for drivers around the country. In this accident, the driver whose vehicle struck Mr. Dowis’ car may well have been driving within his own lane or he might have been stunned by suddenly seeing a vehicle in the median. If he was driving at an accelerated rate or over the speed limit, he may not have been able to avoid hitting the car in the median. We might never know whether this collision was preventable by the other driver slowing down or moving over to the right.
The fact that a driver is not legally charged does not mean that the driver was unable to avoid the accident. We can only speculate as to whether defensive driving could have saved this football star’s life. Defensive driving enables drivers to actually prevent accidents even when another driver has taken incorrect action, such as changing lanes without signaling. However, even if a vehicle is in the median for example as this one was, if another driver could have avoided hitting the stopped vehicle, the accident could be considered preventable. It is critically important that all drivers engage in defensive driving. This means assuming that the unexpected could occur and requires drivers to remain alert at all times, drive within the speed limit and road conditions and to leave sufficient distances between vehicles.
Scholle Law has represented drivers who have been harmed by the negligence or carelessness of others. Please contact our law offices for an evaluation of your injury or accident. We will evaluate your case at no charge and when we represent our clients in injury cases we generally do not get paid, until you get paid.