Man killed when crossing highway in motorized wheelchair likely at fault

Man killed when crossing highway in motorized wheelchair at fault

CRAVEN COUNTY -      North Carolina law refers to motorized wheelchairs or scooters as "electric personal assistive mobility devices." According to the Department of Transportation, people who drive these are considered pedestrians not vehicles.

    According to the DOT it's against state law to operate a motorized wheelchair on a road where the speed limit is more than 25 miles an hour.

     River Bend Police Chief Ryland Matthews says crews will be out on Saturday reconstructing the accident scene where a 63-year-old George Taylor was killed as he tried to cross Highway 17 between Pirates and Efird Roads in his motorized wheelchair

Police say the driver of the vehicle wasn't speeding and it's likely he didn't see Taylor until it was too late.

"As of right now we don't anticipate charges as of yet but we're still again doing our investigation."

Police say it was Taylor who broke the law.

"Those particular devices are restricted. They cannot go more than 15 miles per hour and they are not to be on any public road that has a speed limit in excess of 25 miles per hour."

The speed limit on the stretch of Highway 17 where Taylor was killed is 55 miles per hour.

Police believe Taylor had just come from the Dollar General store on Pirates Drive and home to the Riverstone Assisted Living facility nearby where he lived.

We went to Riverstone to see if Taylor had possibly violated any policies by being out late at night and who might be responsible. But officials locally nor from their parent company based in Fayetteville have returned our calls or answered our questions.

In light of this accident, Chief Matthews says his department is looking into ways to more effectively communicate pedestrian safety to River Bend residents and those who live in the assisted living facility.

He says he's looking into grants that would pay for pedestrian improvements along Highway 17 and a community lecture.


Police have released the name of a man on a motorized wheelchair who was hit by a vehicle and killed in Craven County.

George Taylor, 63, was killed in the collision on Highway 17 near Efird Boulevard in River Bend, said the River Bend Police Department. The accident happened at about 9 p.m. Monday.

According to police, Taylor was driving his motorized wheelchair on the interior northbound lane of Highway 17, going opposite of traffic. But while attempting to make a turn crossing two lanes, he was hit by a vehicle, said investigators.

Taylor later died from his injuries, police said.

The victim was living at Riverstone Assisted Living on Efird Boulevard in River Bend, and was trying to turn onto that road when the accident happened, according to investigators.

The driver of the vehicle that hit Taylor is a licensed juvenile, said police. The juvenile was treated at CarolinaEast Medical Center and released.

Speed and impairment do not appear to be factors, and no charges have been filed, police added. The investigation is ongoing.

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