Bad left turn proves costly for Vale man

Driver to be charged with driving while impaired
Jun. 03, 2014 @ 08:26 AM

A Catawba County man was badly injured Sunday night when he turned left from the wrong lane of Morganton Boulevard, against a red left-turn light, and hit an oncoming vehicle, the N.C. Highway Patrol reported.

James Brian Torbett, 45, of Willis Road in Vale was driving a 1996 Infiniti sedan in the main westbound traffic lane of Morganton Boulevard shortly before 10 p.m. when he suddenly turned left at Rocky Road even though he was not in the left-turn lane, Trooper David Church said. His car struck the front section of an older model Chevrolet utility van driven by Raul Madina Romero, 43, of Ashe Avenue NW in Lenoir that was going east.

The inside of Torbett's car smelled strongly of alcohol, Church said.

Torbett was taken to Caldwell Memorial Hospital and then flown to Carolinas Medical Center, where he was listed in fair condition Monday.

Romero complained of pain but initially refused to be taken to the hospital, Church said. He later was taken to the hospital by an individual.

Torbett will be charged with driving while impaired, careless and reckless driving and having an expired tag, Church said.