Separate crashes slightly more than 24 hours apart highlight the dangers pedestrians in southeastern Virginia face even at intersections marked with crosswalks and controlled by stoplights. The first wreck took place in Chesapeake, VA, where Liberty Street and Old Atlantic Avenue come together in the northern corner of the city. Police did not immediately release details on why the collision occurred at around 8 pm on March 23, 2015, but reporters learned that the man crossing the road sustained life-threatening injuries.
The following night, a pedestrian became the victim of a hit-and-run driver at the intersection of George Washington Highway and Elm Avenue in Portsmouth, VA. The person behind the wheel of a vehicle identified by witnesses as a light-colored Ford F-150 pickup truck fled the scene, and the critically injured man was transported to Sentara Norfolk General Hospital. The person left fighting for his life is an active duty member of the Navy currently housed at the naval shipyard.
As noted, both crashes happened at places where individuals on foot could assume they were safe if they stayed within a crosswalk and crossed with the light. Doing so guarantees Virginia pedestrians right of way, meaning drivers must stop for walkers. Too many people in cars and trucks simply ignore that simple rule, however. My personal injury law firm colleagues and I have helped several pedestrians who suffered broken legs, head and brain trauma, and other potentially disabling injuries when drivers disregarded lights and pavement markings.
While we wish the people hurt in these recent crashes in Chesapeake and Portsmouth full and rapid recoveries, we also call on all drivers to respect and protect pedestrians' safety.