North Carolina Mother and 11-Year-Old Killed In Head-On Collision With Semi

May 22, 2019 Updated: May 22, 2019

North Carolina deputies said a woman and her 11-year-old daughter were killed when their vehicle collided head-on with a tractor-trailer.

North Carolina State Patrol officials were cited by WTVD as saying that 46-year-old Venita Greene Vandergriff was tragically killed when her SUV crossed the center line on U.S. 421 North in Harnett County and struck the semi.

The deadly collision took place early Tuesday morning.

Vandergriff and her 11-year-old were pronounced dead on the scene, WNCN reported, while the little girl’s twin sister, who was also in the car at the time of the accident, was taken to hospital with undisclosed injuries.

WRAL reported the surviving twin was taken to Cape Fear Valley Medical Center in serious condition.

According to WNCN, all three occupants of the 2005 Dodge were wearing seatbelts.

The child that was killed was sitting directly behind her mother; the girl that survived was sitting in the backseat on the passenger side.

A witness told WTVD that the twin that survived had to be cut out of the wreckage.

Deputies cited by WRAL said the cause of the accident is not known but that they don’t suspect alcohol or drugs were a factor.

The tractor-trailer driver, identified as 24-year-old Paul Lanex, suffered minor injuries.

According to CBS17, the driver was treated and released.

Troopers continue to investigate the circumstances of the crash.

Crash Deaths in the United States

Tens of thousands of people are killed and millions injured each year from motor vehicle crashes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC says these deaths cost more than $380 million in direct medical costs.

The major risk factors for crash deaths in the US are: not using seat belts, car seats, and booster seats (factors in over 9,500 crash deaths); drunk driving (a factor in more than 10,000 crash deaths); and speeding (contributing to more than 9,500 crash deaths).

According to 2017 data from the CDC, the 10 leading causes of death in the United States were: heart disease, cancer, unintentional injuries, chronic lower respiratory diseases, stroke, Alzheimer disease, diabetes, influenza and pneumonia, kidney disease, and suicide.

death rate statistics
Age-adjusted death rates for the 10 leading causes of death in the United States for the years 2016 and 2017. (CDC)

These further break down as follows: the most common are unintentional poisoning deaths (58,335), followed by motor vehicle traffic deaths (40,327), and unintentional fall deaths in third place (34,673).

The total number of emergency department visits for unintentional injuries in the United States in 2017 was 30.8 million, according to the CDC.

The 10 leading causes accounted for 74 percent of all deaths in the United States in 2017.

Americans More Likely to Die From Opioid Overdose Than a Car Crash

For the first time in history, accidental opioid overdose has surpassed motor vehicle accidents as the leading cause of unintentional deaths, according to a new report by the National Safety Council (NSC).

Americans have a 1 in 96 chance of dying from an opioid overdose, while the probability of dying in a motor vehicle accident is 1 in 103. The council’s analysis is based on 2017 mortality data by the National Center for Health Statistics, which is part of the CDC.

“The nation’s opioid crisis is fueling the Council’s grim probabilities, and that crisis is worsening with an influx of illicit fentanyl,” the NSC said in a statement on Jan. 14.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, more than 130 people in the United States die of an opioid overdose each day, while the cost of prescription opioid misuse in the country is $78.5 billion a year. This includes the costs of healthcare, lost productivity, addiction treatment, and criminal justice involvement.

“We’ve made significant strides in overall longevity in the United States, but we are dying from things typically called accidents at rates we haven’t seen in half a century,” said Ken Kolosh, manager of statistics at the NSC.

“We cannot be complacent about 466 lives lost every day. This new analysis reinforces that we must consistently prioritize safety at work, at home, and on the road to prevent these dire outcomes,” he said.

Epoch Times reporter Janita Kan contributed to this article.

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