Local News

Driver was texting just before wreck on I-540

Posted November 14, 2013

— The North Carolina State Highway Patrol says a Cary man traveling on Interstate 540 Thursday morning was texting when he lost control of his SUV and hit two cars, sending a woman to a local hospital and snarling traffic for hours.

Highway Patrol spokesman 1st Sgt. Jeff Gordon said Aaron Artis, 26, of 12310 Residence Circle, was driving west in the far-left lane of I-540 near Aviation Parkway shortly before 9:30 a.m. when he looked down at his phone to read a text message, looked up and then swerved to avoid hitting a vehicle that had slowed down because of a traffic delay.

Artis swiped the side of a Toyota Corolla, overcorrected and then drove into the median, hitting a Volkswagen Passat that was parked in the median because of a flat tire.

Donovan Quesenberry Driver was texting just before morning wreck on I-540

The Corolla's driver, Laura Labdon, of Raleigh, was taken to Duke University Hospital, where she was listed in serious condition Thursday evening.

Adriana Sepulveda, of Raleigh, who was standing outside the Passat was slightly injured. Her 6- and 10-year-old sons were not hurt.

"We were thrown, maybe, 20, 30 feet," said Donovan Quesenberry, who had stopped to help Sepulveda. He was under her car changing the tire when the wreck happened.

Quesenberry said he first checked on Sepulveda and her children and then then ran to try to help Labdon.

"We were able to crawl through the wreckage on the passenger side and try to, at least, let her know that help was on the way," he said.

Artis, Gordon said, was cited with texting while driving and failure to maintain lane control.

"It reiterates and brings to point the dangers of distracted driving," Gordon said.

Texting while driving – including reading messages on handheld devices – has been against the law in North Carolina since 2009 and carries a minimum fine of $100 per violation.

According to AAA, a driver using a cellphone has the same deficient motor skills as someone with a 0.08 blood-alcohol level.

Quesenberry said Thursday's wreck should be a strong reminder to others about the dangers of texting and driving.

"It happens every single day," he said. "Everybody sees the commercials on TV – no texting and driving – and it does happen."

28 Comments

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  • so you dont like my opinion ok Nov 22, 2:30 p.m.

    cited with texting while driving and failure to maintain lane control... that's it? wow...

  • ecp1951 Nov 21, 4:29 p.m.

    there's gonna be more folks! just pray it ain't you that get's hit!

  • readme Nov 18, 11:04 a.m.

    I drive to DC all the time for work, and during that trip one-way see an average of probably ten people texting while driving, and I'm not even looking for it. The police should just pull them all. I don't know what the law says, but it should be written so police don't have to prove they were texting. As long as the perp looks on the phone's screen for a few seconds, the intent of the law is met... they are severely distracted. I notice these people always driving too slow or fast and in general weaving more. Pull them.

  • Pseudonym Nov 15, 6:55 p.m.

    You would think it would be common sense to not use a tiny little keyboard while piloting a piece of metal at a speed of 100 yards every 3 seconds.

    Think of how dumb the average person is and then consider that half of them are dumber than that!

  • Mon Account Nov 15, 6:09 p.m.

    I've honked at people who are texting and driving. Scary thing is I've never ever had someone pick up their head and look.

    One time I was rear-ended by a woman reading a book. No damage - we got back in our cars and I passed her down the road. Yup, she was back to reading.

    I think my favorite was when 2 of my friends were on the interstate on motorcycles and a woman just merged on in and didn't see them. They are defensive riders so anticipated she could come over and were prepared, but it scared the crud out of them. She was in a convertible chatting away on her phone so they got on either side of her and blared their horns. Between the horns and the pipes she couldn't hear a word. Of course she flipped them off - had *no* idea she almost killed 2 people.

    Can't fix stupid, just have to hope they don't hurt anyone. In the case of this kid, I think charges of reckless driving would be fair. Pull his license.

  • Backpacker Nov 15, 11:49 a.m.

    The driver should be charged with attempted murder..

    Why, did he attempt to murder someone? I fully understand and agree with the outrage but attempted murder? What we need is our legislators to create a new law in regards to texting and driving not charge him with a non-applicable crime.

  • daveroe77 Nov 15, 10:47 a.m.

    I really wish there were more patrols (if possible) on Davis Drive in RTP during morning and evening rush hour. The amount of "head down" driving by a high concentration of wired professionals (and, I'm one of them...though I don't text and drive) is scary at times.

  • msnbc#1 Nov 15, 10:47 a.m.

    The driver should be charged with attempted murder..

    Sick and tired of these selfish maroons putting all our lives in danger...

    You are not that important where you can't wait a couple minutes to stop and read your text..

  • godnessgracious2 Nov 15, 10:41 a.m.

    OK guys, let's just punish crashing while driving and leave it at that. Up the ante a little bit and lay down some actual detering consequences for crashing. If people can text and drive or drive a little tipsy without crashing they should be left alone. One mistake though and you should be riding a bicicle to work for life.

  • edtomjr Nov 15, 10:39 a.m.

    "I have heard people say that they know how to text while driving."

    It's called voice texting.

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