Before dawn on Feb. 23, Darius Williams ran his Nissan Sentra off a North Carolina interstate at 80 miles per hour. A length of guardrail pierced his door, slamming him into the back seat. Three days later, with police attributing the accident to reckless driving and Williams, 24, lying in intensive care, a self-described safety advocate named Joshua Harman drove past the scene. Spotting the jagged end of the guardrail bending toward the highway, he stopped. “The evidence always tells a story,” he says.
Suspecting he knew this story’s ending, he drove his truck to the junkyard where Williams’s Nissan had been towed. Some 10 feet of guardrail, which had doubled back on itself, had skewered the totaled car. Harman snapped a photo of the bloodied back seat and a 175-pound piece of steel amid the wreckage. A sticker identified its maker: Trinity Highway Products.