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Fatal hit-and-run shows familiar and tragic pattern

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Trevor Spencer Prough, age 18, was struck and killed by a hit-and-run driver on Northbound U.S. Highway 421 near Peace Haven Road in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, on Saturday, February 19, 2011. He was found at about 3:15 a.m. that day.

Kaitlin Smith Slater, 24, of Kernersville, turned herself on March 4 in Forsyth County in connection with the accident.

The circumstances surrounding this accident fit a pattern of hit-and-run wrecks that is repeated so often it is mind-numbing – an accident in the early morning hours (prime time for impaired driving), a revoked or suspended license, a record of DWI and other serious traffic offenses.

In this case, according to reports by WFMY-TV, Slater was charged with aggravated felony death by vehicle, felony hit-and-run causing injury and driving with a revoked license.

Smith’s record includes a DWI conviction in 2008, in which she lost her driver’s license.

In 2005 Smith was convicted of driving without an license, possession of drugs, and a probation violation. In 2003, she was convicted of possession of drugs and drug paraphernalia.

Other violations on her record include speeding 87 mph in a 65 mph zone.

The Winston-Salem Journal also reported that court records say Slater is accused of trying to get help to tow her vehicle after the crash, and trying to hide the car.

Prough, who lived in Lewisville, had been going home after a trip to Wal-mart, police said. He was the youngest of two sons.

Forsyth County District Attorney Jim O’Neil said in an interview with WFMY that in order to convict on an aggravated death by motor vehicle charge, prosecutors must prove the driver was intoxicated, unintentionally killed another person and had a driving while impaired conviction within the past seven years.

If convicted on that charge, Slater could face up to six years in prison.

Smith was given a $125,000 bond and held in the Forsyth County Jail. Her next court appearance is scheduled for March 18.

As I said, hit-and-run accidents often fall into a pattern. Simple panic is one of the first reasons a driver runs from a crash. But other factors can build on that panic and desire to flee. These are a few:

  • A bad driving record.
  • A suspended or revoked license.
  • A criminal record.
  • Driving while under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance.
  • The knowledge of the driver that he or she was at fault and driving recklessly, or while distracted, or simply too fast.

If you have questions about legal issues in this article or in your own personal injury suffered in a wreck, call me directly for help – Lawrence Egerton, 336-273-0508, or 800-800-4LAW, or e-mail me at le@egertonlaw.com. You can find more information about our firm, Egerton & Associates, at our website, http://www.egertonlaw.com/.

You will always talk to an attorney the first time you call.

2 Comments

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  1. Kevin Duffan says:
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    I agree with you completely, a disturbing pattern is emerging with hit-and-run drivers. Just recently, in Gloucester, Virginia a man was arrested for a hit and run. He too, was under the influence of alcohol and driving on a revoked license, just as your pattern suggests.

  2. Beth Noble says:
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    It will be interesting to follow this coming on the heels of the Cook verdict and sentence here in Raleigh. Folks around here were pretty incensed he didn’t get convicted of 2nd degree murder and were very upset he only got 3-4 years. Obviously we don’t know if this lady was drinking when she killed this poor guy but her past experience seems to make me think she was.