NC Supreme Court rules DOT can be sued in 2002 auto wreck
Posted June 15, 2012
Raleigh, N.C. — The North Carolina Supreme Court issued a ruling Friday that the state Department of Transportation can be sued by the estates of three people killed in an auto collision on a Johnston County road nearly 10 years ago.
Mickela Nicholson, 20, and three passengers – Marianne Dauscher, 18, Steven Carr, 18, and Micheal Layaou, 25 – were traveling Aug. 31, 2002, on N.C. Highway 1010 in Johnston County when Nicholson hydroplaned and hit a Jeep Cherokee head-on.
The estates of Nicholson, Dauscher and Layaou sued the DOT for negligence, claiming the road had, for a long time, been in disrepair and that the DOT "failed to make appropriate repair."
They claim that Nicholson was driving within the posted speed limit and that the road's condition caused her to veer off the highway and that when she tried to get back on the road, erosion caused her to overcorrect.
She lost control of the car, crossed the center lane and hit the Jeep head-on, according to the lawsuit.