The chief error assigned by the accused on this appeal is the refusal of the trial court to dismiss the prosecution on a judgment of nonsuit.
When the Legislature enacted the statutes now embodied in G. S., 20-166, it imposed upon the driver of a motor vehicle involved in an accident resulting in injury to a person the following affirmative, positive, and specific duties: (1) To stop his motor vehicle immediately'at the scene of the accident; (2) to give his name and address and the registration number of his motor vehicle to the person injured, or to the driver or occupants of any other vehicle collided with; (3) to render reasonable assistance to the person injured, including the carrying of such person to a physician or surgeon for medical or surgical treatment, if such treatment is requested by such person, or if it is apparent that such treatment is necessary for such person; and (4) to report the accident within twenty-four hours to the department of motor vehicles if it occurs outside a city, or to the police department of the city if it happens within a city.
It would be a manifest absurdity to expect or require the driver of a motor vehicle to perform the acts specified in the statute in the absence of knowledge that his vehicle has been involved in an accident resulting in injury to some person. Hence, both reason and authority declare that such knowledge is an essential element of the crime created by the statute now under consideration. Herchenbach v. Commonwealth, 185 Va., 217, 38 S. E. (2d), 328; Blashfield’s Cyclopedia of Automobile Law and Procedure (Perm. Ed.), section 781; 16 A. L. R., Annotation, 1425-1429; 66 A. L. R., Annotation, 1228-1238; 101 A. L. R., Annotation, 911-919. This position is expressly sustained by our statute prescribing the punishment for persons “convicted of willfully violating G. S., 20-166, relative to the duties to stop in the event of accidents ... involving injury or death to a person.” G. S., 20-182.
In this case, the State itself introduced a statement of the accused to the effect that he had no knowledge or notice that he had struck any *43motor vehicle or injured any person while driving his truck upon the Henderson-Oxford Highway. If true, this declaration plainly negatived the existence of an essential element of the crime charged in the indictment, to wit, that the defendant knew that the truck driven by him had been involved in an accident resulting in injury to a person. The exculpatory statement of the defendant is not contradicted or shown to be false by any other fact or circumstance in evidence. Consequently, we are constrained to hold upon the record here presented that this exculpatory statement is binding upon the State, and that the motion of the defendant for judgment of nonsuit ought to have been sustained in the court below. S. v. Fulcher. 184 N. C., 663, 113 S. E., 769; S. v. Watts, 224 N. C., 771, 32 S. E. (2d), 348.
Por the reasons given, the judgment entered in the trial court is reversed, and the defendant’s motion for judgment of nonsuit is sustained in this Court pursuant to G. S., 15-173.