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Tragic Death of N.C. Teacher Attributed to Truck Spring

On August 35, 2011, a promising and loved second-grade teacher lost her life in a tragic car accident. Christina Whelan was driving her Toyota Scion to Carr Elementary School in Dallas. She was heading southbound on Interstate 85 near McAdenville when she suddenly lost control, slammed into a cement median and ran off the right side of the road into a grove of trees. She was rushed to Carolina Medical Center but died shortly after the accident.

Witnesses who saw the accident happen told investigators they saw debris fly up in the moments just before the crash. This led to a full investigation and reconstruction of the accident to find the true cause of the wreck. Initially, many speculated that the wreck may have been caused by a mechanical failure of the Toyota Scion that Whelan had been driving. Since 2009, many lawsuits have been filed against the Toyota company alleging that acceleration pedals became stuck. Millions of Toyotas were recalled for this defect, however, none of the lawsuits will be tried until 2013.

After a week-long investigation into the accident, Toyota’s name has been cleared and investigators have found the cause of the unfortunate accident. Investigators determined that a leaf spring broke free from a dump truck and smashed into Whelan’s windshield causing her to lose control of her vehicle. The dump truck was traveling in the opposite direction as Whelan and was in the northbound lane of I-85. The leaf spring, which is 20 inches long and weighs about 15 pounds, apparently broke off the truck and flew over the median to hit Whelan’s car. Whether or not the dump truck driver will be held responsible for Whelan’s death is unknown at this time. Troopers are still looking for witnesses that may have seen the leaf spring break off of the truck.

It is always a tragedy when such a young individual loses their life due to circumstances such as these. Whelan was loved by many and engaged to be married. Her birthday was two days after the fatal accident and students at Carr Elementary released balloons in her memory.


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