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2023 St. Patrick’s Day – Booze It & Lose It Campaign

Wednesday, March 15th, 2023

2023 St. Patrick’s Day – Booze I & Lose It Campaign

On Saint Patrick’s Day, we are celebrating the beginning of Christianity in Ireland.

The holiday is named after Saint Patrick (AD 385–461), who is the most recognized patron saint of Ireland.

St. Patrick’s Day festivities involve parades and the wearing of green attire and shamrocks.  Also, on St. Patrick’s Day, the eating meat and drinking alcohol are permitted despite the prohibitions of the Lenten season.  Unfortunately, too many decide to drive after consuming alcoholic beverages.  Last year, about 225 motorists were injured due to impaired driving around St. Patrick’s Day, including 11 fatalities.

In an effort to deter those who have been drinking before getting behind the wheel, law enforcement officers statewide will be on patrol and set up DWI checkpoints.

If you find yourself questioning whether you had too many stouts, lagers, cream ales, ales, etc, do not risk getting arrested or worse, endangering your life or the lives of others. Play it safe and call a cab, UBER, or LYFT, or have a sober friend take you home.

However, should you or someone you know receive a traffic ticket, get into a fender bender, serious accident, or receive a DUI/DWI, call us at (910) 793-9000 for a confidential consultation.

Stay safe, Wilmington!

By Jana H. Collins, Office Manager

Time to Spring Forward

Thursday, March 9th, 2023

Due to the Sunshine Protection Act, there has been some confusion amongst Americans on whether Daylight Saving Time will occur this year. The Sunshine Protection Act to eliminate the seasonal clock/time change was passed by Senate last year. Despite the bill’s passage, this year’s “spring forward” time change will occur on Sunday, March 12 at 2:00 am and the “fall back” time change will occur on November 5, 2023. Don’t forget to change your clocks this weekend.

Although Senate passed the bill in March 2022, the bill remained in a committee in the House of Representatives until reaching expiration of the previous Congress. Failure to reach a conclusion appears to result from differences in opinions on whether the switch should be to permanent standard time or permanent daylight-saving time. People in favor of permanent standard time argue that they have safety concerns for children going to school/waiting at bus stop in the mornings without any sunlight. Additionally, the American Academy of Sleep Medicine states that standard time is better aligned with the human body’s internal clock than daylight saving time. The shift to permanent daylight-saving time would cause darkness in the morning and light in the evening, potentially disrupting people’s sleep quality and routines for work and school.

In contrast, supporters of permanent daylight-saving time want longer daylight hours and argue that this change will reduce seasonal depression and enable more outdoors activities (mainly for children). NBC News reported how Florida Senator, Marco Rubio, initially introduced the Sunshine Protection Act, claiming it would reduce crime, encourage children to play outside, and lower risks of heart attacks and car accidents. Furthermore, a study from 2020 showed a 6% increase in fatal traffic accidents in the week following the time change. Other studies show indication that workplace injuries and medical errors have a slight increase within days following the time change. Nevertheless, Daylight Saving Time shall take place in 2023 and we will hopefully receive a definite answer from Congress at some point this year.

Should you or someone you know receive a traffic ticket or get into a car accident in New Hanover, Pender, or Brunswick Counties, call Collins Law Firm at 910-793-9000 for a confidential consultation about what we can do to help you.

By Bryanna Gordon, Legal Assistant

Wilmington’s Most Dangerous Intersections

Friday, March 3rd, 2023

As the Wilmington area continues to grow, more drivers will be on the roads, ultimately increasing the likelihood of car accidents. WECT News compiled a list of some of the worst intersections for car accidents in the area that were reported from 2018-2021. It should be noted that the volume of traffic is what contributes to the number of accidents on these roads and these intersections are not more/less dangerous than other roads and intersections.  

The worst intersections for car accidents reported between 2018-2021 in New Hanover County are as follows:

1.            College Road & New Centre Drive

  • 171 accidents were reported at this intersection and the most common type of accident at this intersection is angle accidents (includes T-bone collisions).

2.            Kerr Avenue & Market Street

  • 124 accidents were reported here, and angle accidents were the most common accident type. However, NCDOT has made improvements to Kerr Avenue over the last few years and left turns are now prohibited at the intersection.

3.            College Road & Oleander Drive

  • 108 accidents were reported at this intersection and the most common accident type was rear-end accidents.

4.            Market Street & New Center Drive

  • 106 accidents were reported at this intersection and angle accidents were the most common accident type. Although New Center Drive is a short road, the volume of cars on that road is high, partially due to the several commercial businesses located there.

5.            College Road & MLK Parkway

  • 101 accidents were reported here, and rear-end collisions are most common at this intersection. This roadway is heavily traveled, especially since vehicles coming from and heading to Interstate 40 end up at this intersection and onto College Road.

6.            College Road & Randall Parkway

  • 99 accidents were reported here, and rear-end collisions are most common at this intersection. This heavily traveled intersection is near UNCW.

    7.            Gordan Road & College Road

    • 93 accidents were reported here and rear-end collisions are most common at this intersection.

      8.            Gingerwood Drive & Market Street

      • 89 accidents were reported here, and angle accidents are most common at this intersection.

      9.            Fifth Street and Wooster Street

      • 88 accidents were reported at this intersection over the three-year period.

      10.          Third Street and Wooster Street

      • 84 accidents reported here. Only two blocks away from Third & Wooster intersection, this is a common site for high traffic volume because it leads drivers across the Cape Fear Memorial Bridge.

      Unfortunately, car accidents occur and are sometimes out of one’s control. However, if you are hurt in a motor vehicle collision, you may be able to recover from the “at fault” driver who caused the accident. In North Carolina, you can receive compensation for pain and suffering by filing a claim for personal injuries. If a person’s death resulted from a collision caused by another driver’s negligence, a wrongful death claim (type of personal injury) could be filed. We hope it will not become necessary, but if you or a loved one find yourself in need of an attorney for a serious personal injury, or you get into trouble with a criminal matter, or receive a traffic ticket in New Hanover, Pender, or Brunswick County, please give our office a call at 910-793-9000 for a confidential consultation.

      By Bryanna Gordon, Legal Assistant

      Camp Lejeune – Contaminated Water – Presumptive Illnesses

      Thursday, February 23rd, 2023

      According to the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, “as many as one million military and civilian staff and their families might have been exposed to the contaminated drinking water” at Camp Lejeune from the early 1950s to late 1980s.

      Here are some descriptions and symptoms (reported by MayoClinic.org) of the eight presumptive illnesses caused by the toxic water at Camp Lejeune:

      1.         Adult leukemia: cancer of the body’s blood-forming tissues, and this includes bone marrow and the lymphatic system. People with leukemia have bone marrow that over-produces too many abnormal white blood cells that cannot function properly. Symptoms include:

      • Fever or chills
      • Persistent fatigue/weakness
      • Frequent or severe infections
      • Weight loss
      • Swollen lymph nodes, enlarged liver or spleen
      • Easy bleeding or bruising
      • Recurrent nosebleeds
      • Tiny red spots in your skin (petechiae)
      • Excessive sweating, especially at night
      • Bone pain or tenderness

      2.         Aplastic anemia and other myelodysplastic syndromes: a group of disorders that result from something defective in the spongy material inside bone marrow where blood cells are made, causing blood cells to not form or work properly. It is common to not experience symptoms right away, but in time, myelodysplastic syndromes might cause:

      • Fatigue
      • Shortness of breath
      • Unusual paleness (pallor), caused by a low red blood cell count (anemia)
      • Easy or unusual bruising or bleeding, caused by a low blood platelet count (thrombocytopenia)
      • Pinpoint-sized red spots just beneath the skin that are caused by bleeding (petechiae)
      • Frequent infections, caused by a low white blood cell count (leukopenia)

      3.         Bladder cancer: a common type of cancer that most often begins in the urothelial cells that make up the inner lining of your bladder. Bladder cancers can reoccur frequently, even after successful treatment so people with this diagnosis often undergo years of follow-up testing. Symptoms of bladder cancer include:

      • Blood in urine (hematuria), which can cause urine to appear bright red or cola colored (sometimes the urine appears normal, but blood is detectable on a lab test)
      • Frequent urination
      • Painful urination
      • Back pain

      4.         Kidney cancer: the abnormal growth of cells in the kidney tissue. Symptoms include:

      • Blood in your urine, which may appear pink, red, or cola colored
      • Pain in your back or side that is constant
      • Loss of appetite
      • Unexplained weight loss
      • Tiredness
      • Fever

      5.         Liver cancer: the abnormal growth of cells that begins in your liver. There are several types of liver cancer and the most common type is hepatocellular carcinoma, which begins in hepatocytes, the main type of liver cell. It is rare to have symptoms in early stages of primary liver cancer, but when symptoms do finally appear, they include:

      • Unexplained weight loss
      • Loss of appetite
      • Upper abdominal pain
      • Nausea and vomiting
      • General weakness and fatigue
      • Abdominal swelling
      • Yellow discoloration of your skin and the whites of your eyes (jaundice)
      • White, chalky stools

      6.         Multiple myeloma: cancer that forms in plasma cells (type of white blood cell), overpowering healthy blood cells in the bone marrow that help fight infections by producing antibodies. There may not be symptoms in early stages of multiple myeloma and symptoms can vary, but symptoms can include:

      • Bone pain, especially in your spine or chest
      • Nausea
      • Constipation
      • Loss of appetite
      • Mental fogginess or confusion
      • Fatigue
      • Frequent infections
      • Weight loss
      • Weakness or numbness in your legs
      • Excessive thirst

      7.         Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma: cancer that begins in your lymphatic system, causing lymphocytes (white blood cells) to grow abnormally and can even form tumors throughout the body.

      • Swollen lymph nodes in your neck, armpits or groin
      • Abdominal pain or swelling
      • Chest pain, coughing or trouble breathing
      • Persistent fatigue
      • Fever
      • Night sweats
      • Unexplained weight loss

      8.         Parkinson’s disease: a progressive disorder, meaning the symptoms start slowly and worsen over time. This disease is incurable and affects the nervous system and parts of the body that are controlled by nerves. Tremors are a common symptom, especially in early stages but early signs can be mild and go unnoticed. Although, symptoms vary for everyone and often begin on one side of the body. The main symptoms are:

      • Tremors
      • Slowed movement (bradykinesia)
      • Rigid muscles/ stiffness
      • Impaired posture and balance
      • Loss of automatic movements (decreased ability to perform unconscious movements, including blinking, smiling, or swinging your arms when you walk)
      • Speech changes
      • Writing changes (it may become hard to write)

      If you, your loved one, or one of your family members lived or worked for a minimum of thirty days at Camp Lejeune between August 1953 and December 1987 and have been diagnosed with any of the presumptive illnesses referenced above, you may be eligible to recover under the pending Camp Lejeune Contaminated Water Lawsuit.  Please call us at 910-793-9000 for a free confidential consultation.

      By Bryanna Gordon, Legal Assistant

      Camp Lejeune – Contaminated Water – Class Action Lawsuit 

      Monday, February 20th, 2023

      The United States Marine Corps discovered in 1982 that the drinking water at their Base Camp Lejeune, in Jacksonville, North Carolina, was contaminated with numerous dangerous chemicals.  This contamination was existent from August 1953 through December 1987.  Our Marines, as well as their families, and civilian staff who lived or worked at Camp Lejeune during this time period were exposed to this contamination and many of them experienced or still experience serious health issues. 

      The U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs presumes that the following eight diseases developed in those exposed to the contaminated water during August 1953 and December 1987 were in fact caused by their exposure to the contaminated water:

      • Adult leukemia
      • Aplastic anemia and other myelodysplastic syndromes
      • Bladder cancer
      • Kidney cancer
      • Liver cancer
      • Multiple myeloma
      • Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma
      • Parkinson’s disease

      If you, your loved one, or one of your family members lived or worked for a minimum of thirty days at Camp Lejeune between August 1953 and December 1987, and experience(d) health issues, you may be eligible to recover under the pending Camp Lejeune Contaminated Water Lawsuit.  Please call us at 910-793-9000 for a free confidential consultation.

      By Jana H. Collins

      Trailing the Wilmington Area

      Friday, February 17th, 2023

      Emma Dill with Wilmington StarNews reports that there is a statewide effort to spotlight the significance of local trails, greenways, and blueways in North Carolina, deeming 2023 as the “Year of the Trail.” As New Hanover County continues to grow, the “Year of the Trail” campaign is making an impact in Wilmington with the addition of numerous local trailways – ranging in location from downtown Wilmington to Kure Beach- that are currently in the works. The progress of these trails is all at different stages, however, all trails are focusing on supplying more links for cyclists and pedestrians within New Hanover County.

      According to the official campaign website, this is the “largest statewide celebration of trails and outdoor recreation in North Carolina history.” Campaign efforts are led by the Great Trails State Coalition, and their objectives include boosting outdoor recreation tourism, advancing diversity and inclusion on trails, demonstrating the importance of trails to elected officials, and promoting the safe and responsible usage of trails. The “Year of the Trail” has brought five local trailways for New Hanover County locals to be on the lookout for.

      The Downtown Trail has been approved and funded for the design of Phase 1, however, construction for the trail has yet to be funded so the timeline is uncertain. This trail is estimated to cost $3.5 million and extend 5.9 miles long, linking downtown Wilmington with Northside, Love Grove, and Forest Hills neighborhoods.

      The Masonboro Road Loop Trail is currently in construction Phase 1 and is projected to extend 1.4 miles with an estimated budget of $2.5 million. This trail links Navaho Trail to Pine Grove along Masonboro Loop Road and Phase 2 of construction is projected to start next year. 

      The Greenville Loop Road Trail has 4 separate phases that vary in stages of completion. With a budget of $6.8 million, this trail will be 4.4 miles, link South College Road with Oleander Drive along Greenville Loop Road, and construction is projected to begin in Spring 2023.

      The Pleasure Island Greenway was proposed to link Kure Beach town limits with Fort Fisher and the Southport Ferry Terminal, stretching 4.8 miles long. This greenway will not have an official budget and timeline for completion until the feasibility study is completed.

      Across the bridge in Brunswick County, the Gullah Geechee Heritage Corridor is under works, but there is much uncertainty regarding completion until the feasibility study is completed. If approved, the Gullah Geechee Heritage Corridor will extend for 22 miles linking Navassa with Southport and other areas in Brunswick County.

      By Bryanna Gordon, Legal Assistant

      Murdaugh Murder Trial

      Tuesday, January 24th, 2023

      News reports say jury selection has begun in the murder trial for former attorney Alex Murdaugh in Walterboro, S.C.  Before the beginning of jury selection, Murdaugh’s defense lawyers had already filed a motion seeking to block testimony on potential blood evidence.  Mr. Murdaugh is charged in the June 7, 2021, murders of his wife, Maggie Murdaugh, and their youngest son, Paul.  Murdaugh had told investigators that he returned to the family’s property in rural Colleton County to discover the bodies near dog kennels.

      Murdaugh was wearing a white t-shirt when he arrived at the property, and that t-shirt has become a point of contention between the state and Murdaugh’s defense team after the latter has said forensic tests failed to show stains on the shirt were from human blood.

      Attorneys Dick Harpootlian and Jim Griffin asked the court to suppress the testimony of Orangeburg County Chief Deputy Kenneth Lee Kinsey, an expert in bloodstain evidence. The defense attorneys argued that Kinsey said after reviewing a report and analysis from Thomas Bevel, a prosecution witness, he could not form an opinion on whether the blood stains on Murdaugh’s shirt were consistent with back spatter from a gunshot.

      This is a very high profile case because Murdaugh had previously been a well-known attorney in Eastern South Carolina.

      By David B. Collins, Jr.

      Booze It & Lose It Campaign – 2022 Holiday Season

      Tuesday, December 13th, 2022

      Mark Ezzell, the director of the NC Governor’s Highway Safety Program, stated “If you plan on going out and celebrating the holiday season, make sure you plan ahead to have a sober driver take you home. If you drive impaired, you have a lot to lose. Not only could you kill yourself or someone else, you could be facing thousands of dollars in court costs and fines, jail time, and a revoked driver’s license.”

      From December 12th, 2022, to January 1st, 2023, the North Carolina State Highway Patrol is running their “Booze It & Lose It” holiday campaign. The campaign will consist of increased patrols and checkpoints in an effort to apprehend impaired drivers from getting behind the wheel.

      The 2021 “Booze It & Lose It” campaign data from the North Carolina Department of Transportation reflects that New Hanover County had a total of 25 checkpoints and patrols and 46 total DWI arrests, Pender County had a total of 51 checkpoints and patrols and 14 total DWI arrests, and Brunswick County had a total of 18 checkpoints and patrols and 37 total DWI arrests.

      As of December 2022, there has been a total of 432 alcohol or drug-related accidents resulting in deaths. The ”Booze It & Lose It” campaign targets impaired drivers in an effort to prevent that total from increasing before the beginning of the new year.

      The NC Governor’s Highway Safety Program recommends travelers stay safe on the roads this holiday season by following a few simple tips:

      • Do not drive impaired and plan ahead by obtaining a sober driver
      • Wear your seatbelt when riding in any seat in the vehicle
      • Follow the speed limit

      Should you or someone you know receive criminal charges resulting from driving while impaired or any traffic law violation in New Hanover, Pender, or Brunswick Counties, call Collins Law Firm at 910-793-9000 for a confidential consultation about what we can do to help you.

      By Cheyenne M. Hensley, Legal Assistant

      Halloween 2022 – Booze It & Lose It

      Wednesday, October 26th, 2022

      With the celebration of Halloween, the holiday season begins.  According to the Highway Safety Program, Halloween is among the most dangerous times a year for traffic accidents.  Halloween parties and trick-or-treat events invite individuals to come out, and the chances for drunk driving and pedestrian accidents increase. 

      With the statewide Booze It & Lose It campaign which began on October 24, 2022, and will last through October 31, 2022, the Governor’s Highway Safety Program is aiming to discourage drivers from operating a car after consuming alcohol.   There will be increased law enforcement patrolling our roads, and sobriety checkpoints will be set up.

      It is very dangerous to drive distracted or impaired.  But especially on Halloween with excited kids darting out in the middle of the street or simply crossing without looking, all drivers should be vigilant, keep their eyes on the road and be prepared to stop.

      If you plan to go out and enjoy alcoholic beverages, please have a designated driver, use a taxi, Uber, or Lyft.  Please make sure not to turn a good time into a tragedy for yourself or others.

      Also keep in mind, a charge of driving while impaired can be expensive. People charged with DWI can lose their license and may have to pay thousands of dollars in court fees and increased insurance premiums.

      Have a good time this weekend and be safe!

      By Jana H. Collins

      National School Bus Safety Week – Operation Stop Arm

      Tuesday, October 18th, 2022

      This week, the North Carolina State Highway Patrol is focusing on their new campaign, “Operation Stop Arm,” in the midst of National School Bus Safety Week. The goal of Operation Stop Arm is to get students to school safer and to raise awareness for school bus safety laws through educational and enforcement measures.

      Every day, there are approximately 14,000 school buses traveling North Carolina Highways transporting an average of 795,000 students to and from school. The Highway Patrol believes many accidents involving buses and students can be prevented if drivers are more inclined to just simply pay attention.

      In North Carolina, passing a stopped school bus is a Class 1 misdemeanor and if convicted, the driver will receive five points on their driver’s license and a minimum $500 fine. If a driver passes a stopped school bus and strikes a person, it is a Class I felony and a Class H felony if the driver strikes a person and that violation results in death.

      Should you or someone you know receive a citation for passing a stopped school bus or another traffic citation in New Hanover, Pender, or Brunswick County, Collins Law Firm can assist you. Give us a call at 910-793-9000 for a free consultation.

      By Cheyenne M. Hensley, Legal Assistant