Teen Seriously Injured in Suspected Drunk Driving Crash in Kill Devil Hills
The Kill Devil Hills Police Department reports that on Tuesday, January 26, 2021 at approximately 6:27 pm Kill Devil Hills Police and Fire departments and Dare County EMS responded to a serious motor vehicle crash at the intersection of U.S. 158 (North Croatan Highway) and East Palmetto Street.
The investigation determined that a 2003 Volvo XC90 T6 sports utility vehicle (SUV) 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 U.S. 158 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 onto U.S. 158 without coming to a complete stop at the stop sign at the intersection of U.S. 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 the transported to the Outer Banks Hospital for a consent blood draw for testing. Criminal charges are pending.
The KDH Police Department expressed thanks to the Nags Head Police Department, Kitty Hawk Police Department, and 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.