A wrong-way driver who state police investigator believe was impaired by alcohol is being blamed for a fatal wrong-way crash on the West Virginia Turnpike. The head-on collision occurred at around 1:30 am on March 28, 2016.
The at-fault pickup truck driver was traveling south in the northbound lanes of I-77 about six miles north of the Ghent toll plaza when he hit an SUV carrying eight members of an Ohio family. The man behind the wheel of the SUV lost his life, as did three of his passengers. Two of the deceased victims were children.
Four other people in the SUV suffered injuries that required hospital treatment, as did the driver of the pickup truck. Law enforcement officials intend to charge the man in the pickup, but they are continuing their investigation and waiting on results from laboratory tests for drunk and drugged driving.
Many explanations exist for why a driver mistakes an interstate exit ramp for a highway entrance, but intoxication appears near the top of that list. Consuming too much alcohol or too many drugs clouds vision and judgment while also making just the act of reading road signs difficult.
Whatever reason the pickup truck driver has for causing this deadly head-on in West Virginia, he very likely has no valid excuse. Holding him accountable for taking innocent lives and hospitalizing several individuals is essential. The victims of the wrong-way crash should also consider filing insurance claims and, possibly, civil wrongful death and personal injury lawsuits in order to received compensation and monetary damages.