Street racing is a too-common phenomenon in southern California. A street race is a competition between two or more automobiles on a city street. As can be imagined, these contents often involve speeds that are not safe for such venues. A recent street race in Columbus County not only produced criminal charges but resulted in the death of a man riding a lawnmower.
According to the North Carolina Highway Patrol crash report, the victim was riding his lawnmower east on Old Lake Road just before 8:30 p.m. The highway patrol concluded that the lawnmower did not have headlights or warning lights.
Two men were racing in the same direction on the same road. The two drivers are believed to have been traveling between 80 and 90 miles per hour. The man driving the slower of the two vehicles did not see the lawnmower and struck it at a speed estimated to be 80 mph.
The driver of the lawnmower was thrown from the lawnmower, and the mower exploded before it ran off the road into ditch and stopped near a private driveway. The car that struck the lawnmower crossed the centerline and also wound up in the ditch. The driver of the lawnmower was taken to a nearby hospital, where he died from his injuries.
Both racers were charged with second degree murder and prearranged street racing. One driver was arrested and order to post a bond of $250,000. The bond has apparently been posted, and the man has been released.
Based upon the facts thus far released by the North Carolina Highway Patrol, the two racers appear to have been grossly negligent in causing the death of the lawnmower operator. However, the lawnmower was not showing any lights, and this omission could be construed as contributory negligence. Under North Carolina law, a person whose negligence contributed to his injuries or death cannot recover on a negligence claim. Anyone who has suffered an injury or lost a loved one under similar circumstances may wish to consult an experienced personal injury lawyer for an analysis of the evidence and an estimate of the likelihood of recovering damages in a civil suit.