By Outer Banks Voice on January 27, 2021
Update: A gofundme campaign has been started to support Tatum Love, the 16-year-old who has been seriously injured in that accident. Fundraiser by Fiona McKenna : help support the Love family (gofundme.com)
On Jan. 26, at approximately 6:27 p.m., Kill Devil Hills Police, Fire and Dare County EMS responded to a serious motor vehicle crash at the intersection of US 158 and E. Palmetto Street.
The investigation determined that a 2003 Volvo XC90 T6 sports utility vehicle operated by Merlin Garrett Cole, 23, of Colington was traveling west on East Palmetto Street and made a left turn onto US 158. Cole had one passenger inside his vehicle.
At the same time, a 2010 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited sports utility vehicle operated by a 17-year-old juvenile male was traveling south in the inside lane of US 158 (North Croatan Highway) approaching the intersection with Palmetto Street. The 17-year-old and his front passenger, a 16-year-old female were secured in a safety belt. A 16-year-old female in the rear passenger seat was not secured in a safety belt.
Roadway evidence and driver statements obtained at the scene indicate that the Volvo SUV operated by Cole turned US 158 without coming to a complete stop at the stop sign at the intersection of US 158 and Palmetto Street. As the Volvo SUV entered the inside southbound travel lane it collided with the Jeep Wrangler.
The impact caused the Jeep Wrangler to flip approximately six times. The 16-year-old in the rear passenger seat was ejected from the vehicle. She sustained life-threatening injuries and was transported to Sentara Norfolk General Hospital. The front seat 16-year-old passenger suffered non-life-threatening injuries and refused medical transport to the hospital. The 17-year-old male driver also had non-life-threatening injuries and refused treatment.
Neither occupant of the Volvo SUV complained of injuries.
Officers were able to detect an odor of alcohol about the breath of Cole. An alcohol screening device test was administered with a positive reading. Cole was transported to the Outer Banks Hospital for a consent blood draw for testing. Criminal charges are pending.
The Department would like to thank the Nags Head Police Department, Kitty Hawk Police Department and the Dare County Sheriff’s office for their assistance at the scene and the telecommunicators at Dare Central who help coordinate the response and rescue efforts.
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