Most people think of surgeons as highly trained doctors dedicated to saving lives. But law enforcement officials say that a surgeon involved in a wrong-way collision on an interstate highway showed reckless disregard for safety when he had more than three times the legal amount of alcohol in his system. The doctor is fortunate that neither he nor anyone else was killed in the violent crash.
The doctor has been charged with impaired driving in the Burke County crash, along with several other charges, a North Carolina State Highway Patrol spokesperson said.
The 41-year-old Black Mountain resident went the wrong way onto Interstate 40, officials said. He then drove more than a mile headed east before slamming his Honda Pilot head-on into a Toyota driven by an 18-year-old Davidson man. The doctor was not hurt in the crash, but the other driver was airlifted to a hospital in Charlotte for treatment of internal injuries.
The surgeon reportedly showed signs of impairment in the aftermath of the collision, authorities said. He is a general surgeon at a hospital about an hour and a half northwest of Charlotte.
A spokesperson for the facility said, "This happened well after he had left the hospital and was on his own time. We have several internal processes in place to make sure patient safety is not compromised."
According to a news report, the doctor's blood-alcohol content (BAC) was measured at .26 percent after the crash. In North Carolina, it is illegal to drive with a BAC of .08 percent and above.
After the crash, the doctor apparently continued driving for about a third of a mile. His vehicle then came to a stop in the median.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a crash caused by an impaired driver, you can pursue maximum compensation for all damages. Contact an attorney experienced in personal injury litigation to learn more about your options.