It's a driving maneuver that many people perform on a semi-regular basis: passing another vehicle on a two-lane highway. While this is a perfectly legal action, there is no disputing that it can sometimes prove to be rather nerve wracking due to the relatively high rate of speed involved and the perfect timing needed to get out of the oncoming lane of traffic as quickly as possible.
Unfortunately, mistakes sometimes happen and drivers, despite their best efforts, are unable to avoid a high-speed collision with an oncoming car in these situations. Sadly, this is exactly what happened here in West Virginia just a few weeks ago as three teenagers lost their lives in a horrific truck accident on a two-lane highway in Hancock County.
According to reports, the three teens, all of whom were from New Cumberland, attended a basketball game at their area high school back on the evening of Jan. 18. After the game ended at around 9 p.m., the three piled into a single car and headed to their next destination via Route 8.
As the car traveled southbound on Route 8 near the entrance to Tomlinson Run State Park, the teen driver attempted to pass the car in front of them using the northbound lane. Tragically, the car then collided head-on with a fire truck carrying six firefighters that was in route to a call about a chimney fire.
Emergency responders -- including the six firefighters in the fire truck -- tried their best to help the teens, but it was already too late. Two of the teens died at the accident scene, while the other was rushed to an area hospital where he later died from his injuries.
The tragedy has understandably left the local community, particularly fellow students, shaken and saddened.
"Our school community is devastated by this," said the school superintendent. "These students are so young and, you know, they were so happy, full of life and it's very difficult to try to understand why they were taken away from us at such a young age."
While the exact cause of the auto accident remains under investigation, law enforcement officials have indicated that they don't believe the weather played a role. It remains unclear, however, whether the teens were wearing their seatbelts.
Stay tuned for updates ...
If you were injured or lost a loved one in a motor vehicle accident that you believe was caused by reckless driving or negligent road design, consider speaking with an experienced legal professional to learn more about your options for pursuing justice.
Source: The Herald-Star, "Area mourns following deaths of three students," Stephen Huba, Jan. 20, 2014; CBS Pittsburgh, "3 W. Va. teens killed in crash with fire truck," Bob Allen, Jan. 19, 2014