Every year in the U.S., there are approximately 6 million auto accidents. Unfortunately, many of these incidents end up in the loss of life of a driver, passenger, or citizen on the side of the road — sometimes multiple fatalities occur. In Georgia, a former NASCAR driver and his son lost their lives after their driver lost control of his pickup truck.
James Hylton had a storied racing career: winning two NASCAR Winston Cup Series (now called Monster Energy Cup Series), collected 140 top 5 finishes, and 201 top 10 finishes in 602 total races.
According to The Drive, James Hylton and son James “Tweety” Hylton Jr. were killed following the ARCA Series race at Alabama’s Talladega Superspeedway. Hylton Sr. owned a racing team that competed in the series. The two were killed on Interstate 85 in Franklin County.
NASCAR and ARCA, which was acquired by NASCAR in late April, released a joint statement mourning the loss of Hylton and his son:
“Racing competitively in parts of six decades, James Hylton’s dedication, passion and longevity in motorsports is virtually unmatched. Hylton won the Rookie of the Year at NASCAR’s highest level, the 1972 race at Talladega Superspeedway and regularly contended for championships during the early years of his career. His racing influence continued into the ARCA series, where he competed as a driver and, most recently, a car owner. We have lost a truly special member of the racing family and a beloved figure among generations of competitors and race fans alike. We extend our deepest condolences to the Hylton family on the tragic loss of James Hylton and his son James Jr.”
Both Hyltons were passengers inside a GMC truck that was pulling a trailer containing their race car. The driver of the pickup, Terry Strange, told police he changed lanes from the right lane to the left lane in an attempt to pass a slower vehicle when another vehicle tried changing lanes at the same time, nearly colliding with their truck and trailer.
Strange was forced onto the shoulder of the road in order to avoid crashing but lost control of the vehicle. The truck then struck an orange construction barrel and crashed through an already-damaged guardrail, subsequently sending their vehicle airborne, flying over a creek, and striking an embankment with the front of the truck.
Sadly, James Hylton Sr. was seated in the front passenger seat of the truck and was not wearing a seatbelt. His son, sitting in the back, was wearing a shoulder belt, but both were pronounced dead at the scene.
Simply driving safely isn’t the only thing U.S. drivers can do to avoid catastrophic crashes like the recent Alabama incident. It’s recommended that every vehicle owner should stay diligent and on top of their automobile’s maintenance. According to a recent survey, researchers found than an estimated 77% of vehicles were in need of auto body or engine maintenance and repairs.
According to ESPN, Strange suffered broken bones and injuries to both legs, ankles, and feet. Additionally, after the Georgia State Patrol investigated whether or not to cite the driver, decided not to charge Strange.
James Hylton Sr. was 83 years old at the time of the crash; his son was 61 years old.