Motorcyclist loses leg following collision with abandoned SUV


CHARLOTTE, N.C. (FOX 46 CHARLOTTE) — Abandoned vehicles on the shoulders of highways and roads is a growing concern that one motorist said played a role in the amputation of his leg.

“It makes you aware that there are a lot of cars on the side of the road,” motorist Kyle Pulley said.

Pulley crashed his motorcycle into an abandoned SUV that was resting on a shoulder of the 2000 block of East Independence Boulevard on Oct. 7, 2018 around 9:56 p.m.

Pulley said another vehicle swerved into his lane and caused him to crash into the abandoned vehicle. A reporting person stated that Pulley was “tossed into the air.”

“I remember the EMT tying the tourniquet around my femur and after that my body just went into shock,” Pulley said.

His leg was later amputated at the hospital following multiple injuries. 

Pulley believes if the abandoned car wasn’t resting there, he might have had time to correct his motorcycle and recover.

The Highway Patrol said it is responsible for tagging abandoned cars on most major highways. The stretch of Highway 74 where Pulley’s accident occured is within Charlotte city limits and, therefore, is the responsibility of CMPD.

“When you’ve got a vehicle running 65-70 [mph] and it hits a stationary vehicle, it’s a pretty horrific impact,” NC Highway Patrol Trooper Ray Pierce said.

Pierce said the Highway Patrol towed 608 vehicles in 2008. Their protocol is to put a sticker on abandoned vehicles when they’re spotted. Once tagged, they’ll wait 24 hours to tow the vehicle (48 hours if it’s an out-of-state vehicle).”

CMPD waits five days before towing a vehicle.

The Highway Patrol and CMPD both say they have the power and will tow a vehicle, immediately, if it is causing an immediate hazard, such as, directly obstructing a traffic lane.

The Highway Patrol said it’s overloaded with abandoned vehicles.

“You can tow a section one day and come back three days later and you might have two or three more pop up,” Pierce said.

FOX 46 requested tow numbers from CMPD back in early Jan. 11 but that request has not been fufilled.

We also asked CMPD if the abandoned vehicle that Pulley crashed into had already been tagged but CMPD said it does not keep track of vehicles tagged until they are towed. The same goes for the Highway Patrol.

It is up to troopers of officers to notice the sticker as they drive by an abandoned car, check the date of notice on the sticker and then call in a tow truck if it is past due.

“Tagging and towing vehicles out of the roadway is a fairly low priority for CMPD and while we do it, there are multiple other responsibilities that our officers have,” CMPD Lt. Bradford Koch said. 

Pulley’s amputated leg is a reminder that he’s thankful to be alive. Still, he believes a better job needs to be done about cleaning up abandoned cars.

“That way we don’t have cars on the side of the road that are creating potential dangers,” Pulley said.

If you would like to report an abandoned vehicle to CMPD, you can dial 311. If you would like to report an abandoned vehicle to the Highway Patrol you can dial #47 or 1-800-5-Patrol.

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