A tragic North Carolina accident recently shook the community of the Cherokee Indian Reservation of Cherokee, killing one and injuring another. On the night of Oct. 8, at around 8:40 p.m., a police officer out of the Cherokee Indian Police Department hit two pedestrians with his patrol car while on duty near the 411-bypass. This police officer — as well as his employer — could very likely be facing wrongful death and personal injury litigation after his actions took the life of a fellow Native American and hurt another one.
The officer apparently attempted to pull over a vehicle for having only one operating headlight. In doing so, his vehicle struck the two pedestrians in the roadway. One 24-year-old victim was taken by ambulance to the Cherokee Indian Hospital to be treated and was later released. The second victim, a 40-year-old man, was not as fortunate as the first, having been pronounced dead at the scene of the collision.
Being that this case happened on a Native American Reservation, and the accused is a police officer in that jurisdiction, the investigation was turned over to the North Carolina Highway Patrol. Reportedly, the department’s intent in doing so was to resolve this case in the best way for all parties involved. It sought to assure the community that it was dedicated to seeking a just resolution in the aftermath of the tragedy.
The Highway Patrol is in the process of conducting a full investigation. This will consist of interviews from witnesses, reconstruction of the accident, along with forensics from the patrol car. The officer involved in the crash is to remain on administrative leave until this investigation is completed.
Accidents like these will not be forgotten easily. The pedestrian who was killed has left his family to grieve long after any investigation is over, and the injured man will live the rest of his life without his friend. The deceased man’s family and the injured victim that survived the crash retain the right to seek recovery of monetary damages through wrongful death and personal injury lawsuits. These legal claims would necessarily be based upon evidence that the officer negligently caused the fatal accident. If negligence is established to the satisfaction of a North Carolina civil court, demands for financial relief will then be adjudicated.
Source: Cherokee One Feather, Pedestrian fatality involves Cherokee Officer (updated), No author, Oct. 11, 2013