I-526 Becomes a Death Trap for Motorists in a Period of 24 Hours

Sadly, we have learned the identity of the victim of one of two fatal car wrecks near our law firm this week. It all began on Monday morning when a collision between two trucks caused a large fuel spill on I-526 near the Virginia Avenue exit. Crews had just finished the clean-up and re-opened the road to traffic around noon. Lauren Elyse Baccari, a 27-year-old MUSC student and newlywed, was caught in the traffic congestion when a tractor trailer, which was going too fast for road conditions, hit three vehicles, causing a chain reaction. Mrs. Baccari was killed instantly when her car was pinned under the truck and rendered unrecognizable. A victim advocate for the North Charleston Police Department stated that Ms. Baccari’s body was so severely injured that her loved ones will never be able to see her again. Witnesses at the scene said that among the wreckage, they were able to see a wedding ring adorning Ms. Baccari’s finger.

Three other people involved in the collision were hospitalized. The driver of the tractor trailer, Arnold Bradford Williams, was first charged with felony DUI after witnesses told police they observed Williams walking outside his cab after the collision and tossing beer cans onto the pavement 20 feet below the I-526 overpass. After further investigation, Williams was charged with reckless homicide and his bond has been set at $100,000.

Williams already had an extensive history of traffic tickets prior to this collision. Williams reportedly had been cited on one other occasion for having an open container of beer, as well as for improper passing. He’s also accumulated at least 10 tickets for failing to wear a seat belt. One only has to wonder what his employer was thinking in allowing Williams to continue operating a tractor trailer given this driving history. Unfortunately, as we’ve learned over the past 45 years of handling tractor trailer collision cases, while most trucking companies are extremely safety conscious (as they should be), the harm which is caused by the small minority of trucking companies with a slack safety program is catastrophic. We can only imagine the grief that Ms. Baccari’s family is dealing with in the after-math of this preventable accident.

Twenty-four hours earlier, a 25-year-old Charleston man was also killed on eastbound I-526 when Lisa Pistolis of Hanahan, while allegedly driving under the influence, caused his fatal crash. She was jailed Sunday on a count of driving under the influence.

Our hearts go out to the families of everyone involved in these back-to-back collisions. I-526 has proven to be one of the most dangerous highways in South Carolina. Adding careless drivers and motorists driving under the influence to the mix only makes it even more of deadly situation.

The attorneys at the Joye Law Firm have extensive experience in representing the victims and family members of persons injured or killed in automobile collisions on I-526, including representing the families of two persons who were killed in a tractor trailer accident which involved stopped traffic on 526 a few years ago. In that case, we were able to prove that the tractor trailer driver had fallen asleep at the wheel right before the collision due to a longstanding issue of sleep deprivation that his employer knew or should have known existed. The exact amount of the final settlement of those two cases is confidential but both families received multi-million dollar recoveries.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a car collision, the attorneys at the Joye Law Firm are here to help you. Please contact us for a free consultation by calling 888-324-3100 or by filling out our convenient online form today.