A man lost his life to a hit-and-run driver shortly after the car he was riding in broke down and pulled on to the shoulder of the highway through Chesterfield County, Virginia (VA). The fatal pedestrian crash happened at 1:15 am on March 11, 2017.
The deceased man had been traveling with his girlfriend when their car experienced a mechanical failure just as it passed the Courthouse Road exit from southbound Route 288. Following recommended safety procedures, the woman driving the car pulled over on the left shoulder and switched on her hazard lights.
Almost as soon as he stepped out of the passenger side door, the pedestrian was struck and killed by a dark-colored pickup truck. The truck never stopped, and state police have asked anyone who may be able to identify the vehicle or the person who fled the scene to call (804) 533-3445.
Highway shoulders are dangerous places. Virginia enforces a so-called move over law that requires drivers to slow down and, when doing so is safe, change lanes to give police, tow truck operators and road crew members time and space to work safely. The law also covers motorists whose vehicles become disabled by wrecks or breakdowns. When other drivers ignore the safety of fellow motorists in distress, people die.
One analysis of fatal pedestrian crashes along interstates in Missouri, North Carolina and Texas revealed that people attending to disabled vehicles was the second-most frequent scenario in which individuals got killed while on highway shoulders. Specifically, the researchers determined that "in 18 percent of the accidents, pedestrians had mechanical problems with their own vehicles and were either working on them or pushing them out of the roadway. In 40 percent of these incidents, the pedestrians were on the shoulder. The accidents involved driver inattention, sleepiness, or drunkenness."
No one can know what caused the hit-and-run pickup driver to collide with the pedestrian on route 288 in Chesterfield County. We can know that tracking down the at-fault driver will allow police to pursue criminal charges and make it easier for the deceased man's family to file wrongful death insurance claims. If the hit-and-run driver is not found, however, the victim's loved ones may be able to secure compensation by invoking uninsured motorist provisions of his or their own insurance policies. Consulting with a caring and experienced Virginia wrongful death attorney will help them understand how to exercise this legal option.