Dangerous Curve in Durham

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N.C. Department of Transportation traffic engineers plan changes that should make drivers more alert to the dangers of a sharp curve in Durham where five people have died in high-speed crashes since 1992.

Matthew Grape, a Duke University senior, was killed on September 15 when a car driven by a fellow student crashed into trees near a curve on N.C. 751 (Academy Road) just south of Duke University Road. The speed limit is 35 mph, but investigators said the car was traveling at 70 mph.

Four other people died in two car accidents at the same spot in the 1990s, in cars going 80 mph or faster. Alcohol was involved in all three crashes.

Kelly L. Becker, a regional DOT traffic engineer, recommended last week that DOT install three black-on-yellow arrow chevrons on the outside of the curve, replacing one there now. She recommended two new signs to remind northbound drivers they are approaching the curve, and the relocation of an existing curve-ahead sign to provide more advance warning for southbound drivers. "This will provide more visibility for that curve," Becker said. Durham police crash reports blame all five deaths at the curve on impaired drivers who were speeding late at night - 85 mph in the 1992 crash, 80 mph in a 1997 crash, and 65 mph last month.

Grape's driver, Duke student Lee K. Royster, is charged with driving while impaired, though police are awaiting drug and alcohol test results. All three cars were headed south on a straight, wide stretch of N.C. 751 (Cameron Boulevard). N.C. 751 changes dramatically after a stoplight at Duke University Road. It narrows from four to two lanes as it changes its name to Academy Road, and it makes a tight curve to the right. All three cars went straight instead, running off the left side of the curve lined with scarred oak trees. "When you're in that curve and you lose control, the first thing you're confronted with is two- and three-foot-diameter trees which are absolutely unforgiving," said Durham Police Cpl. Stan McHenry, who investigated the triple-fatality crash on April 6, 1992. The driver was Dmitri Boudeka, 23, a Russian immigrant who lived in Carrboro. Two Russian business executives who died with him had just left a party celebrating their graduation from a three-week program at Duke's business school. Boudeka's Toyota ran off the curve and hit a tree that ripped its roof off.

When is a Car Accident Wrongful Death?

Wrongful death in a car accident is often attributed to the driver's action being careless; so careless he/she should have expected bodily harm or death to be a result. The unfortunate instance above where the Duke student die may be an example. It can also be from what lawyers call "dangerous roads." Dangerous roads are those that contribute to a car accident. Once the propensity of a car accident is established, the state has a responsibility to the public to make repairs to improve public safety. The road in question above has had numerous car accident over the years. Law enforcement attributes this to driver error, but then why fix the road?

Car Accident Lawyer

The Clore Law Group has help countless people seek justice after being the victim of a car accident, including fatal crashes. They have also helped those whose crash was due to a dangerous road. If you or a loved one was in a car accident and has mounting medical bills, these lawyers can help. Call today to discuss your car accident with a North Carolina lawyer.

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