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Eighth fatal on Brunswick County roadways in six weeks

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By Rachel Johnson, Staff Writer

 

Last week another fatal wreck claimed the life of a Winnabow man. It is the eighth fatal wreck in six weeks on Brunswick County roadways.

Around 6:30 a.m. on Thursday, Nov. 8, James Clarence Corbett, 61, of Winnabow was killed at the intersection of N.C. 87 and Funston Road near Bolivia.

According to N.C. Highway Patrol Sgt. Troy Pope, Corbett was driving a 2003 Pontiac passenger car when it collided with a 2002 Chevrolet pickup truck driven by Virginia Lynn Caton, also of Winnabow.

Corbett’s vehicle was attempting to make a left hand turn across N.C. 87 at the time of the collision. Caton was traveling north on N.C. 87.

“Vehicle one failed to yield the right-of-way while making a left-hand turn,” Pope said.

The impact of the collision was on the driver’s side of Corbett’s vehicle.

Speed, alcohol and drugs aren’t thought to be factors in the wreck. Corbett was wearing his seat belt. The contributing circumstance to the wreck is thought to be the yield violation.

 

Weeks of fatal wrecks

Seven fatal wrecks occurred in Brunswick County during October. The highway patrol is aggressively trying to prevent fatal wrecks.

“This is not the part of the job we enjoy,” Pope said. “We don’t want to do this, and that is why troopers are actively enforcing seat belts  laws. We don’t give warnings on that. The only way to get out of not getting that ticket is to put it on.”

The N.C. Highway Patrol works to spread the message of seat belt safety.

“We are doing our best to encourage people to wear seatbelts,” Pope said. “When people don’t put a seat belt on and are ejected from the vehicle, there is little chance for survival.”

Between January and November 2011, N.C. Highway Patrol had issued 2,211 seat belt tickets between New Hanover and Brunswick County.

“This year the number is 3,011. That is 800 more citations than last year. We are really putting forth an effort,” Pope said.

He explained last year 66 percent of fatal wrecks in the two counties involved people who weren’t wearing a seat belt. Troopers are aggressively enforcing the law and attempting to educate people in hopes of lowering the number of fatalities.

“We are trying to educate people that what we want you to do is wear these seat belts,” Pope said. “It will save your life.”

Pope reported total collisions for the district are down by about 1 percent, but fatal collisions have increased. In 2012 there have been 37 fatal collisions that have killed 37 people in the district, which encompasses New Hanover and Brunswick counties.

“Hopefully we will continue the downward trend of collisions. We would like to see no fatal collisions,” Pope said. “Troopers are out there working very hard to prevent them.”