An out-of-control driver hit and critically injured an emergency responder who had stopped to help a disabled motorist on I-664 in Chesapeake, Virginia (VA). The crash, which drew charges of reckless driving and operating with defective equipment against the man who collided with the VDOT Safety Service Patrol employee on the shoulder under the Portsmouth Boulevard overpass, occurred just after midnight on June 13, 2015.
WAVY-TV 10 reported that the state worker remained hospitalized and fighting for his life throughout at least the following day. Investigators could not immediately determine why the at-fault driver ran off the road as he approached the scene where the victim was helping another person, but both alcohol use and speed have been ruled out as causes. It is possible that the driver fell asleep at the wheel or allowed himself to get distracted by a smartphone or GPS device.
Virginia's move over law was adopted about 10 years ago to prevent exactly the kind of accident that happened in Chesapeake. Failing to slow down and move over as far as safely possible when coming up on a crash or traffic stop are ticketable offenses. More importantly, not giving emergency responders, police and Good Samaritans adequate time and space puts those people's lives at risk unnecessarily.
My Virginia personal injury law firm colleagues and I pay close attention to move over violations and crashes that hurt or kill individuals working or providing assistance on highway shoulders and medians. We take every opportunity to call attention to the completely avoidable wrecks in order to urge drivers to do all they can to ensure that law enforcement officers, EMTs, tow truck operators and others outside their vehicles stay safe.