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Veteran North Carolina sheriff to retire after pair of accidents

The longtime sheriff of Orange County, North Carolina, has announced his retirement after getting into a pair of car accidents in about eight months. The sheriff, 79, appears to have been to blame in both incidents, though he did not say that they contributed to his decision not to seek a ninth term.

The most recent car accident happened on Aug. 19. The sheriff was driving on Old N.C. 86 during rush hour. He attempted a left turn but failed to yield to oncoming traffic and was hit by another vehicle while turning, the North Carolina Highway Patrol said.

No injuries were reported, though the sheriff was wearing a cast on his arm nearly two weeks later. He said that his arm injury was not related to the August car accident.

His prior collision was on Jan. 4. That accident took place on city streets and involved two other vehicles. The sheriff claimed at the time that a red light caused the other two vehicles to stop suddenly, causing him to rear-end them. As with the more recent incident, this crash was fairly minor and nobody was hurt.

However, these wrecks may have influenced the sheriff's decision not to seek re-election. He has served as Orange County sheriff since 1982 and will turn 80 next year.

It is an unfortunate but inevitable fact that our senses and reflexes generally diminish as we age. At some point, it may be necessary for us to restrict our driving as we get older, or even give up driving altogether. It may simply be too much of a car accident risk at a certain point.

Source: News & Observer, "Orange sheriff causes 2nd wreck, plans to retire," Tammy Grubb, Aug. 30, 2013