Crash Overview

Anthony Harris
Anthony Harris
  • Updated

Location Description

West Mallard Creek Church Road and its intersection with Claude Freeman Drive in Charlotte, North Carolina is fairly representative of development patterns within the surrounding suburban area. Multiple retail developments and commercial land usage populate this stretch of roadway. The city notes that the intersection is nearby a large employment center called University Research Park. These roads facilitate access to and from highways 85 and 485. Though the street networks are not laid out with a grid design more typical to urban areas, you'll still find apartment complexes and neighborhoods on either side of West Mallard Creek Church Road.

Crash Summary

  • The crash happened at this intersection at 6:54am on Monday February 14, 2022. 
  • A motorist struck Michael-Luther Black as he was crossing the west side of the intersection heading south on Claude Freeman Drive. Media coverage states that Michael-Luther died at the scene at 7:04am. 

Why was this crash nominated? 

  • With multiple lanes for through traffic, multiple turn lanes, and a 45 mph speed limit, West Mallard Creek Church Road qualifies as a stroad environment. Strong Towns believes investigating collisions in places like this is an important component of its Crash Analysis Studio.
  • Even though we weren't able to get a crash report from the authorities, there was considerable information available to the public. Our nominator, Jaden Blank, also carries significant knowledge of the area as a local expert and former long-term resident. 

Update from Strong Towns (February 2024) 

Strong Towns conducted the Charlotte Crash Analysis Studio session on August 25, 2023. The assembled panel evaluated the collision that took Michael-Luther Black’s life on February 14, 2022. In February of 2024, Strong Towns connected with Gilesa and Vincent Black–Michael-Luther Black’s parents–about the crash and the studio session. Gilesa and Vincent reviewed the coverage we produced and were kind enough to provide us with a copy of the crash report after they met with a police officer. Here is the additional information Strong Towns was able to confirm:

  • Michael-Luther was traveling southbound on foot and had crossed the street to the median; he yielded to the oncoming car in the left turning lane.
  • He was waving his hands to try and get the attention of the bus driver who was approaching the bus stop; Michael needed to catch the bus to make it to an important personal appointment on time. 
  • Michael-Luther was struck by the side of the oncoming Buick Envision that was traveling through the inner eastbound lane. His head hit the A-Pillar–which straddles the windshield–and then the hood of the vehicle before being tossed 80 feet; he landed in the middle of the intersection. 
  • The motorist was traveling at 43 mph.

Based on our conversation with Gilesa, the bus currently arrives around 7:04am. This would have made the bus 10 minutes early, assuming the schedule was the same in 2022. Strong Towns reiterates that the signal phasing takes a long amount of time to change for pedestrian crossing, and that Michael-Luther was waiting on the lights to change during his crossing time. Strong Towns has added a redacted version of the crash report to this post for reference.

What additional information is available? 


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