We all should know that pedestrians and interstates don’t mix. In a tragic series of events that was reported by the Atlanta-Journal Constitution this week, we have learned that indeed this can lead to the worst possible tragedy. In my law practice as a Gwinnett County truck accident lawyer, I have represented many clients that have faced terrible events and circumstances. It is never easy to make sense of something that seems so senseless and avoidable.
This tragedy unfolded Thanksgiving week as parents in North Carolina became alarmed after their son, at student in Austin, Texas, went missing before the Thanksgiving holiday. The young man’s father received a call from his son who was traveling home for Thanksgiving. When he called his dad to say he had run out of gasoline — his father wisely suggested that he contact AAA. But he also asked his son to call him back, but never heard from him again.
What happened after this is something that the Gwinnett County authorities are trying to piece together. A witness reported to 911 he had seen a man running across I-985 and that he had nearly hit the man. Although after this 911 call the police looked for the pedestrian, they could not find him on either side of the road.
At some point while the victim walked on I-85, the 26-year old student was killed by a tractor-trailer in Gwinnett County. This occurred nearly 24 hours after the call to his father. The police have no idea what happened in the intervening hours. They do know that a tractor-trailer hit the man in the early morning hours as he walked inside a lane. The truck driver was not under the influence and is not being charged in this tragedy.
He was not carrying identification as he walked the road. It is not known whether he left his car with his id. Sadly, the only way he could be identified was by the tattoos on his body, which were published by the police in an effort to identify the deceased. A family friend saw these photos and sent them to the family. They immediately knew this was their missing son.
His car was eventually located on the side of the road along I-985. The young man had been studying at AOMA Graduate School of Integrated Medicine. The family is still left with questions about what happened to their son.
What is the lesson in this tragedy? It is difficult to know what this young man faced as he had no gas and was in an area he did not know. But perhaps his situation can help others to prepare for a long trip to avoid tragedy.
If you are driving a long distance, bring an extra cell phone battery. Make sure that you stop for gas well before you are in a crisis … this might mean stopping when you gas tank is still a quarter full, but at least you might avoid trying to find gas in an unfamiliar place late at night. Make sure that you have a copy of your roadside assistance information with you and a copy of that in your vehicle. Never walk on an Interstate highway. Call 911 and tell them where you are if you are in a mechanical or fuel emergency.
If you have any questions about an accident or injury that was caused by a tractor-trailer or other commercial vehicle, please contact me at the Law Offices of P. Charles Scholle, PC for a free consultation. There is absolutely no fee for this evaluation. I handle motor vehicle and truck injury cases throughout the Atlanta region and in all surrounding cities and counties, including Duluth, Fulton County, Grayson, Gwinnett County and more.